Crafting a Wildlife-Friendly Sanctuary

Surbiton (WIP)


Scope of work



In Surbiton, our client with a passion for the environment and two energetic Springer Spaniels faced a dilemma. Her dogs were damaging the lawn, and she yearned for a garden that reflected her environmental values, especially now that her children have grown up. She wanted her Edwardian-style home to be complemented by a garden that resonated with the Arts and Crafts movement of that era.

Design and Implementation:

Our approach was multifaceted, aiming to create a dog-friendly garden that also catered to local wild-life and adhered to sustainable practices.

  1. Pond Installation: We incorporated a pond, unsure initially how the dogs would interact with it, but so far, they’ve adapted well. This feature not only adds aesthetic value but also promotes biodiversity.
  2. Stained Glass Inspiration: Drawing from the home’s beautiful stained-glass front door, we incorporated similar design elements into the hardstanding area for the fire pit, creating a cohesive aesthetic.
  3. Sustainable Pathways: In line with the Edwardian house, we built a brick and cobble path, avoiding cement due to its high carbon footprint. We used a “floating” path design with lime mortar, enhancing sustainability and reducing flood risk.
  4. Garden Zoning: The garden was divided into distinct areas using a copper beech hedge and an archway. This led to an Earthbag bench near the pond, providing a serene viewpoint.
  5. Earth bag Bench: Utilizing techniques for building sustainable Earthbag homes, we constructed an Earthbag bench, an innovative and environmentally friendly feature.
  6. Repurposing and Recycling : Keen to minimize waste, we reused healthy topsoil on-site instead of disposing of it, demonstrating our commitment to sustainability.
  7. Storage for Recreational Equipment: Recognizing the need to store the large table tennis table, we created a screened-off area to house it when not in use.
  8. Pollinator and Dog-Friendly Planting: The planting scheme was carefully devised to accommodate various micro-climates, like the west-facing wall and frost pockets. The selection was both pollinator-friendly and suitable for a garden frequented by dogs.


Challenges and Solutions::

Ensuring the garden was both pet-friendly and a haven for wildlife was a primary challenge. We meticulously chose plants and garden features that would withstand energetic dogs while supporting local ecosystems.

Future Plans:

This garden is still a work in progress, but it’s shaping up to be a sanctuary that captures both the evening sun and sunsets, offering a peaceful retreat for the client. The integration of historical design elements with modern sustainability practices demonstrates how a garden can be both beautiful and environmentally conscious.


This Surbiton garden project highlights how thoughtful design can reconcile the needs of pets with a desire for wildlife-friendly spaces. It showcases the potential of a garden to be an extension of one’s environmental values, creating a space that is not only a tribute to historical styles but also a testament to contemporary sustainable practices.



Alan Bradley



More projects

Some of our projects