The Family Monster Garden was commissioned by the Family Action charity to promote its ‘Family Monsters’ initiative.
Leading designer, Alistair Bayford, invited Outdoor Design to work with him to create the garden by constructing extensive corten steelwork, including elevated decking, a water feature and edging.
The garden’s focal point was a 1m-deep central pool of water. Artisan gardens at Chelsea are ‘no-dig’, which required raising the level of the garden to accommodate it. This complex design and engineering challenge was compounded by the design’s numerous curves and arcs, and the fact that, unusually at Chelsea, the garden was intended to be viewed from all sides.
Outdoor Design used Alistair’s rough sketch and a watercolour artist’s impression to produce detailed drawings in an iterative, consultative process.
The entire structure was fabricated in 8mm corten steel, pre-treated to establish the distinctive rusted surface appearance. The central pool is a rough teardrop shape measuring 2.5 x 1.75m, surrounded by a corten deck which flows seamlessly into a ramp, coated with a gravel-effect resin bond, spiralling down to ground level. The structure is supported by steel legs and gabions, with Outdoor Design's standard corten edging panels, designed and manufactured entirely in-house, running round the perimeter.
This was one of the most extensive metalwork design and manufacturing projects the company had ever undertaken at Chelsea and took two of their skilled specialists 10 days to complete the fabrication. It was also an exemplary demonstration of Outdoor Design's unique ability to take a designer’s vision and make it a reality in metal, to the highest standards of structural integrity and aesthetic perfection.
Built by landscaping giant idverde, it went on to win the highly prestigious Best Artisan Garden award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.