Oliver Rutman

Oliver runs a small award-winning studio undertaking work in London and across the UK. We believe that plants are key in creating atmosphere in gardens. Our horticultural expertise allows us to design imaginative planting schemes that ensure there is year round interest in every garden.

Awards include:
People’s Choice Award for the Exotic Border at Belvoir Flower and Garden Festival and Pro landscaper 30 under 30.

Current projects include:
City gardens in Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton and London.
Rural projects around Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Cotsworlds.
Garden for the staff at the Royal Free Hospital.

Instagram: oliver_rutman


Sponden Lane



TN18 5NR


Oliver has always loved the natural environment. He started his career in horticulture at the internationally renowned Great Dixter House and Gardens in East Sussex. Here Oliver developed his understanding of succession planting, garden management and the importance of biodiversity. Known for its imaginative planting and experimental combinations, Dixter has inspired Oliver’s interest in unusual plants and creative combinations.

Oliver studied Garden Design at London College of Garden Design based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Shortly after graduating Oliver designed and built a show border at The Belvoir Flower and Garden Festival which was awarded ‘People’s Choice Award’.

Oliver has assisted MSGD and RHS Award winning designers on their projects and Chelsea Show gardens. Experiencing the exceptional detail involved in the design, planting and hard landscaping has given him an excellent eye in his own designs.

Keen to continue learning, Oliver has attended symposiums at Beth Chatto’s Garden (Essex), Parham House (Sussex) and Bergamo (Italy). Oliver has travelled widely looking at landscapes and the flora they contain. His most recent trip has been to the cloud forests of Peru,.

Video Biography below is taken from the London Collage of Garden Design #intheirgarden series filmed during lockdown.

Video Biography



This garden is at a new build property in Cambridge. The client wanted a brand new garden room to use as a home office / gym that captured the best views down the garden. A large entertaining terrace has also been created that leads off the kitchen perfect for dining in the summer months. A large border with trees, shrubs and perennials has been proposed to cover the boundary and also gives privacy from neighbours.
Finally off the master bedroom a new pair of double doors will be installed that leads onto a new shady courtyard.

Build starting Summer 2021

Plantsmans garden

This garden was designed for a couple who were moving to London from Liverpool. They are both keen gardeners who enjoy pottering in the garden. At the centre of the design in a seating area with a cantilevered bench so they can sit and enjoy the garden.

Professional photographs are being taken in May!

Outdoor Room

I was approached by a family who were renovating a property in Tufnell Park to design their back garden (9 meters long 5 meters wide).

The family said they wanted a garden that they could entertain in and also was good to relax in on the weekends. They also wanted privacy as the garden currently has very low walls around it allowing the neighbours to see right into the garden.

I decided that the design needed to use the space efficiently but also help to make the garden seem bigger than it was. I have achieved this by putting a spacious terrace by the house that leads to a seating area that is sounded by planting. There also is a garden store at the side by the house. The large border and hedge at the back with feature trees to make a focal point at the end of the garden and drew your eye down it.

The outline design is attached below as well as photos of the current state of the site now. The project is due for completion in October 2019.


Renovation of a Lime Walk in East Sussex

Coastal Escape - RHS Tatton Park Flower Show 2020

I was delighted to be selected as one of the five finalists in the RHS Young designer competition held at the Tatton Park Flower Show in July.

More information about my garden Coastal Escape below:

Coastal Escape is an intimate retreat. It combines plants associated with the UK coastal landscape with more unusual and Mediterranean plants. This exciting combination would not occur naturally but these plants would thrive together in a coastal setting.

The planting palette focuses on foliage, while flowers of varying colours, shapes and textures inject further interest. Structural, rounded plants are offset by those of looser shape to evoke an informal feeling. Groynes, rocks and boardwalk deck elements place the garden in a coastal location. A tranquil seating area is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the space.

Macmillan Legacy Garden Harrogate Spring Show 2020

I was thrilled to be chosen to create the Macmillan Legacy Garden at this years Harrogate Spring Show. Macmillan wanted the garden to promote legacy gifts that people can leave in their will to Macmillan .

The design is a tranquil contemplative woodland garden where people can reflect on their legacy and the work of Macmillan.

The garden features a grid of silver birch trees providing a canopy of foliage through which dampled light illuminates the woodland planting. An atmosphere of calm is generated by the soft palette of ferns and spring flowering woodland perennials. A granite path is partly paved and partly unfinished to reflect the future support Macmillan hopes to provide. The water bowls, reminiscent of woodland puddles, provide a point for reflection and indicate that Macmillan welcomes donations of any size.

Unfortunately due to the coronavirus pandemic the Harrogate Spring show has had to be cancelled. However we are in discussions with Macmillan as to how to bring the legacy garden to life at a future show.

East Facing Front Garden

The client of this east facing front garden in London wanted it to have the maximin amount of planting to provide seasonal interest. This was achieved by integrating the bin store into the wall. This means none of the front garden was taken up by hard landscaping that would have been needed to move the bins to the road to be collected.

Light Well

This small space (3m x2m) is part of a generous basement kitchen extension at a property in London. The corten steel troughs are filled with a planting combination that provides year round interest. The mirror enhances the feeling of space.

Creation of a Wild Flower Meadow

Award Winning Exotic Border

The LCGD ran a competition to design a 2.4m x 2.4m raised bed for the Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden festival. My design was chosen by the judges, Jo Thompson and Andrew Fisher Tomlin.

At the show my border was given the ‘Peoples Choice’ award.

The theory behind the border:

The border represents part of a larger south facing border in an urban garden. It is designed for clients that like to travel and want this summer border to reflect their interest. They have a small greenhouse to overwinter some of the more tender plants.
Inspired by the Exotic Garden at Great Dixter, this border combines exotic and unusual plants. The diverse range of plants show how exotic foliage can be incorporated into a British summertime border.

A garden for NHS heroes

We are currently working on an incredibly exiting collaboration with the other Young Designer finalists Freddie, Max and Emilie. This has come about as the RHS Young Designer 2020 was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic. We wanted to design a garden together in order to provide something positive out of the situation. We contacted a number of NHS trusts. After many emails and visits to potential sites we decided on a site at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampsted in London. The area is a roof terrace space that leads off the staff canteen. We hope that this new space can help the staff of the hospital recover from the mental trauma caused by the pandemic.

Visuals and images will be added here once the press release has taken place. The new roof terrace will be built by the award winning contract Landform.

Kent Farmhouse

The garden visuals below are for a garden we have designed in the Kent countryside. The garden wis a blank lawn that slopes away from the house currently. Through using the houses geometry we have enable the garden to be split into six different rooms, some of these rooms have key functions for dining and entertaining while others create vistas across the garden and connect with the landscape beyond.

The build process has started with landscaping the front of the property (not shown) and then will move to creating the rooms at the back by May. Due to the project being staged we envisage this garden being completed in October 2022 with planning then starting on the other half of the garden in order to complete the entire scheme by 2024.

Images below illustrate four of the six rooms. The rooms include, west facing cantilevered deck to watch the sun set, main entertaining courtyard with views over the meadow, west courtyard for a covered dining area and a cut flower garden featuring a Alitex greenhouse.