Photo: garden by Wildroof Landscapes Penrith Cumbria

A bit of back story

A bit of back story

We’ve always focused on our projects and clients’ gardens in our website News but we’re often asked how Buzy Lizzie Garden Design and Wildroof Landscapes began so here’s a taste of our story.

How did the businesses begin?

This is a second career for both of us. I think it was Confucius who said: “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realise we only have one.”

After a spell of chemotherapy, during which Liz spent most of her recuperation time in her own garden, she went back to college to study Garden Design. “We were already thinking about a move north so this was the route to my ‘second life’ in the prettiest part of England – Cumbria,” says Liz.

Phil went from Group Technical director to landscaper and wildroof specialist and he is a great advocate of using roof surfaces to mimic local grasslands and create green spaces. “I love a challenge so the more complex the site, the better”.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

When a client says to us, ‘I would never have thought of that myself.’ We both love the challenge of different spaces (and clients), the variety of soils, aspects and conditions and the creativity that’s needed to bring them all together and create something beautiful that can be enjoyed right through the seasons.

Wildroof Landscapes also specialises in creating new gardens that look established really quickly. The aim is to re-use as much hard landscaping material from the previous garden as possible and then Liz creates her design around established shrubs and trees to give a feeling of permanence too.

Favourite suppliers?

We are lucky to have so many independent small businesses locally and that’s where we source a lot of the paving, wood, plants and sculptures. If we can’t re-use stone from the site, we source it as locally as we can so that it blends into the landscape.

Huws Gray in Penrith are great. They have a really good range on display, they can source even more from their suppliers and they know their stuff too so they’re an excellent source of advice. At the other extreme, Liz loves working with artisan craftspeople in the area: “Clare Farley of Pinfold Pottery is brilliant – she’s gone beyond the call of duty for me and for my clients in the past and really seems to enjoy a ceramics challenge, from a Cane Toppers Masterclass at the Cumbria Life Home and Garden Show last year to a Herdwick sheep’s head for a client’s garden sheepfold.”

What single piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to update their garden?

Be bold - so often good ideas are diluted during implementation and yet they could have been stunning if the owner (and the gardener) had the confidence to stick to their guns. If you are not feeling brave enough then call in a ‘Garden Designer’ for some reassurance.

We’d also recommend people to be bold on what they spend too, especially on the bones of the garden. Gardens add value to your house (not just kerb appeal) but hard landscaping needs to be done in a sustainable way so don’t be afraid to invest in that structure.

What’s your favourite part of your own garden and why?

We have recently installed a sauna in our garden and that has now become a part of our weekly routine – it’s wonderful over the winter to have a really cosy place to relax and unwind. Phil has also constructed an area for a firepit so that we can enjoy the night sky with company through the year too. I suppose it all about what the Scandinavians call the ‘friluftsliv’, the free air life!