RHS Tatton 2021: Our Favourite Garden Designs

RHS Tatton 2021: Our Favourite Garden Designs

What a wonderful day for RHS Tatton 2021! A real triumph after missing out on last year’s event. 

We were truly inspired by this year’s gardens and learnt a lot through speaking with the designers, charities, and organisations who have worked so hard to produce such spectacular greenspaces! It is so important to take the opportunity to speak to the experts whilst you’re attending shows such as RHS Tatton, they provide invaluable insights into new trends as well as planting, care and advice.

Here are just some of our thoughts on the trends and themes that we spotted at this year’s show…

Green and Purple Contrasts

Throughout many of the show gardens, you could find a strong contrast between green and purple foliage. This is a fantastic way to create layers in your garden and add depth and texture.

The Cancer Research UK Legacy Garden

This gold medal-winning garden is designed by Neil Sutcliffe and built by Creative Roots, features a soaring Beech tree at its heart,  nurtured by five, restful rills flowing towards a central bed. The garden’s gentle tranquillity highlights the links between legacy pledgers and researchers working together to help beat cancer for future generations.  Find out more about this garden here.

With a Copper beech as the perfect backdrop, this Tatton Show Garden really did have the wow factor. We loved the use of contrasting purple and green foliage to create shape and structure in the garden. Amongst the bold-coloured foliage, Stipa ‘Pony Tails’ grass (far left) lightened the texture and colour of the beds.

By using plants of different heights, styles and foliage with a common colour theme of green or purple, this garden created a mass of texture and depth without looking messy and unruly. Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ (bottom left and back right) is a wonderful addition to the planting scheme.

The Dreamscape Garden

The ability to escape reality into a dreamlike environment inspires this bronze medal garden design.

Designed by Ellie Edkins and built by Martin Jones Landscapes, an intriguing sculptural form greets the visitor at its entrance, a shape repeated in the round recess cut into the soft pink rear wall of the garden, echoed by a circular reflective pool and complimentary undulating flower beds.  Find out more about this garden here.

In this garden, we found a variety of grasses and flowering shrubs which work very well together to create a sensory space. Stipa ‘Pony Tails’ grass sways gently in the breeze to create a soothing rustle.

In using a restricted colour palette of greens and purples, clean curves of the bench and overflowing beds, enhanced textural shrubs render the garden a calm and relaxing space providing a haven for wildlife. The shallow pond is an insightful addition offering vital support to birds in the hot summer months.

We’ve noticed many of the gardens at this year’s show used self-binding gravel for paths and walkways that are both aesthetically gorgeous and a great choice to improve garden drainage.


Music and plants come together in perfect harmony in this lyrical garden by designer Clive Scott, fusing his two great passions.

Textured planting steadily diminishes in height from back to front in a melodious crescendo, a theme that lends its name to this innovative composition. Featuring playful, keyboard-style decking and drum-skin stepping stones, lively, musical percussion adds a sensory dimension to visitors walking through the garden.

In the Crescendo garden, you’ll  discover a variety of tactile ornamental grasses, including steely-blue Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue,’ teamed up with the fashionable Stipa ‘Pony Tails.’

The piano decking appears almost stage-like as Yew topiary balls, Italian cypress trees and a boundary of purple beech hedge provide enticing spatial structure. 

Graduating subtly in height from the rear of the garden, purple tones are featured between lively,  green grasses and shrubs to highlight the different shapes and textures of the plants. 

Lush Leaves

Naturally, we were thrilled to see such lush, vibrant hedging schemes and leafy shrubs! By imitating some of these inspired boundary planting ideas you can create natural shade for your seating areas, as well as reduce heat stress for your garden plants.

On Tropic

With increasing concerns about climate change, this thought-provoking garden by Freddie Strickland and built by Matt James focuses on our environmental consciousness. Eye-catching powder-blue Agapanthus are punctuated by vibrant orange Lilies with traditional garden plants substituted with tropical alternatives, speculating on future low-impact garden design and planting.

The variety of foliage, shapes, textures and plant sizes in this garden cast beautiful shadowy silhouettes as shrubs stir gently against their neighbours.

The key elements of dense, lush, foliage in this planting scheme create the perfect spot for a sheltered seating area offering a serene shelter, privacy and a barrier against noise and wind.

United Utilities Garden of Resilience

With increasing rainfall and extended dry weather more likely in the future, designer Leon Davis’ gold medal garden explores how we can make our outdoor spaces more resilient and practical. Gardens of the future will require a more considered approach to how we plant and care for our cherished outdoor spaces. Find out more about this garden here.

United Utilities sponsored this energising garden to offer visitors quirky ideas for making outdoor spaces better able to cope with too much or too little rain. An innovative shelter with a living roof,  a simple rill and water chain combine with a rainwater planter and a slimline water butt cleverly disguised as a bench. Permeable sandstone paving and a curious sunken rain garden create an innovative space aimed at improving well-being, air quality and biodiversity.

The key shrubs planted in this garden have been selected for their ability and resilience to withstand prolonged spells of dry or wet weather. They include a Hornbeam hedge, Carex grass (left) and Oleaster (right).

This garden has been transported to become a permanent feature at the new RHS Bridgewater Garden in Salford. The research project at the site will monitor the effectiveness of rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage. Find out how you could recreate some aspects of these gorgeous gardens at RHS Bridgewater in our blog post here

For more garden inspiration and advice, head over to our blog.