Tabi Jackson Gee
A London-based garden designer, Tabi aims to connect people with nature through colourful, nurturing and beautiful outdoor spaces. From city roof gardens to larger rural landscapes, these are spaces designed to be lived in.
With a taste for combining the classical with the contemporary, inspired by growing up in rural Northamptonshire then spending much of the last decade working as a travel and fashion journalist, Tabi loves the collaborative elements of working closely with her clients to create engaging and enjoyable outdoor spaces.
An author, journalist and Country Life regular, Tabi also writes features about gardening, green spaces and travel for The Financial Times Weekend, Ideal Home, The Telegraph, Grazia, Vice, Refinery29 and Conde Nast Traveller.
Tabi also spends time volunteering with a charity she cofounded. Dream for Trees is an organisation that was set up during lockdown in 2020 with the sole aim of planting mini forests in urban areas, helping improve air quality, provide habitats for wildlife and help improve our city environments.
Since 2017 Tabi has worked as a garden designer in London, Surrey and Northamptonshire. During this time she also boosted her experience working alongside some brilliant designers on design, build and maintenance jobs, indulging her passion for plants whilst learning about the practical skills required to deliver a successful garden.
Prior to this, Tabi was a successful journalist and editor, writing for some of the UK’s most respected newspapers and magazines. Mainly covering fashion, culture and travel, she has also worked as a consultant and copywriter.
This long Chiswick garden was commissioned in February 2021 by a growing family who’d recently completed extensive renovations on their new house. They wanted something easy to manage but full of life, colour and texture, so we reimagined the space with three different areas to relax in.
We still wanted to retain plenty of lawn space for the children, but introduced a self-binding gravel dining space, a new raised chill out area on the bunker (with bespoke planters to match the new furniture and make it child-proof) and a large bespoke L-shaped rendered bench that sits up nearer the house and – due to the level changes – leaves you plenty to look at in the garden beyond.
‘Parasol’ Morus alba trees provide light shade over the dining space, and merge seamlessly with the rest of the existing trees. A bulb meadow at the very back of the garden sits on a bank and gives the owners an ever changing colour palette throughout the year.
In collaboration with architects Youngman Lovell we helped turn this derelict milking parlour into a new events space and art gallery. On the edge of a farm, it really made us think about what a garden is – this one was semi-wild not just in setting but in the sense that it had to be fairly low intervention to protect an enormous oak tree that was already there.
We added a rusty coloured palette of reds, dark purples and oranges that complement the brickwork of the buildings and most importantly connect to the rich tones of the landscape beyond. The design followed the shape of an oak leaf to achieve an organic, fluid layout that allowed space for groups to gather on hoggin areas as well as a decked area and various pockets for seating overlooking the garden and the ponds.
This garden is a work in progress and we’re continuing to develop the planting over the next few years, as well as working with Youngman Lovell on a number of other exciting projects, including their Carbon Neutral Modular Homes. https://www.youngmanlovell.com/
We worked closely with our client as well as Interior Designer Emma Ainscough on this project to create a rich, colourful courtyard that can be enjoyed all year round from the large open plan downstairs living space.
Instead of pleached trees, we introduced two multi-stem Silver Birch trees to offer privacy without blocking out the light, placing them on a platform to screen the windows beyond. A palette of dark oranges and deep purples mix in amongst tall elegant grasses that pick up the light and create delicate shadows on the walls throughout the year. We wanted to have height and drama even in this small area so that the garden could really sing.
A mix of antique, bespoke and off the shelf planters come together to create a timeless aesthetic; we designed the large birch planters with Torc pots to match the texture of the trees bark and found the vintage plant stands to match the furniture. The other planters are all from Pots and Pithoi; a mixture of heights and details bring a classic feel to the space.
One of our first projects, this garden was built and planted in 2019 and has been featured in both Ideal Home and The Evening Standard. Our client gave us carte blanche with the planting and was keen to start gardening herself, so we really pushed the boundaries of what you can do in a small (ish) London garden.
As well as adding hedging for privacy, we created a winding path up to the dining terrace and added two mutli-stem Acer palmatums to balance the space. A combination of grasses, perennials and evergreen shrubs make up the foundations of the planting but with plenty of space for our client to experiment over the years as the garden matured and she found her feet with the garden.
A small garden that really packs a punch, thanks to the use of texture, light and shadow and limewash walls. The client initially wanted a low maintenance garden but as their confidence grew through learning about the plants she’s now enjoying looking after it herself.
We created an arched corridor to take you from the kitchen to the main garden area, introducing a path interplanted with thyme and an expanse of light, modern porcelain for the dining area.
A light blue limewash on the walls is the perfect backdrop for a planting palette of purples, deep reds and blues. Employing a mix of classic David Austen roses alongside more modern planting of ornamental grasses and bright perennials, we loved creating a real impact in a very small space.
With well established structural elements such as yew topiary and espaliered pears, we have looked to update this glorious garden for its new residents with new seating areas, a cut flower and vegetable garden and large new borders to the front and rear of the house.
The maintenance schedule, developed with the client’s gardeners, ensures that perennials are left standing throughout winter to provide year round interest as well as habitats for wildlife. Strips of the lawn are left to grow long, with a rich tapestry of wildflowers coming through at different times of year.
To the front of the house a new wrought iron fence and Ilex crenata hedge create a light and soft new boundary. A subtle new lighting scheme throughout complements the soft, textured planting as does the antique furniture.