Intelligent design for people and planet
Mark Laurence is an international designer of future-orientated, sustainable gardens and landscapes, adaptive, ecological planting and cyclical systems
Covid 19 crisis and remote working
During the current crisis, it is clearly not possible to carry out business as usual, including site visits and construction works. I am following advice from the government and the Society of Garden Designers for best practice. As design work can happen without contact it is possible to carry out some design and consultancy remotely, especially concept planning and planting design. We can use mediums such as video calls to consult and progress things, so please contact me to discuss this further.
Design for natural beauty and environmental connection using clear design process, simple materials and resilient, naturalistic planting.
Plants are selected for not just beauty but for ecological adaptiveness to cope with climate induced weather patterns.
All gardens & landscapes need to be cyclical, sustainable and productive to maximise soil health and carbon sequestration.
Ecologically aware design
The benefits of sustainable design
Why should we think about sustainability when we design a garden or landscape? It's all about consequences. The ethic is that we should not beautify one environment at the expense of another. Therefore we think about the impacts of the choices we make. That tropical timber may make a beautiful deck, but can we with conscience accept the destruction of rainforest to achieve it? Such are the questions we ask, with the aim that we create a similar end result by using a more sustainable and local resource.
Retaining walls made from sweet chestnut, sourced locally
Planting in gravel with permeable drainage and paving, including the drive
Adaptive ecologies for the planet
Natural planting for beauty, resilience and ecological benefit
Natural planting is of huge benefit in creating relaxing, biophilic environments that look good all year round and are a joy to behold. They are also highly beneficial for wildlife and make use of tough, insect-friendly, climate adapted plants. No natural temperate garden is, or should be, irrigated.
Choosing the right plant for the place, in the right combination
Drifts or loose matrices of plants through gravel
a landscape response
A new landscape design approach
With the growing awareness of the planetary climate crisis, our landscapes must take on a more proactive role in adaption, mitigation and regeneration. What we design now will be crucial in stabilising our environment and making places we can still live and thrive in.
Adaptive planting design on dry soils for resilience and beauty
Planting for biodiversity as well as beauty and resilience
Rain & Water Gardens
living water systems
Designing water and rain gardens
Minimising external water inputs into a garden or landscape, whilst maximising the use and benefits, is both an art and a science. Keeping water clean in ponds is something we can do with the use of biofilters (biological filtration). Harvesting rainwater from roofs, or even using greywater, lessens the need for external inputs. When drought hits, mains water supply may not always be sufficient. On the other hand, managing floodwaters with swales, permeable beds and materials is an important aspect of water-conscious design.
A natural stream feeds down a rocky slope to a pond
Children playing in a rainwater stream in their garden
A waterfall from a terrace rill drops into an informal stream
A curved water feature with biofilter and water chutes
Layered forest biomass
The most complex and beneficial ecologies come from the overlapping of ecozones. Forest gardens are important in the creation of layered biomass, each creating ecological niche. Edging a small copse of trees or multistem shrubs/trees onto more open areas of a garden also increases the opportunities for ecology, beauty and productivity. Such plantings can be harvested (as garden "management") for poles, biomass for mulches, compost materials and food products.
Multistem trees like hazel make great structure in the forest garden
Willows, like this Salix elaeagnos, make great multistem trees
circular system design
Fruit, vegetables and edible landscapes
Gardens need to be based upon circular systems to keep energy flows concentrated within the site and minimise external inputs. Plants that are ornamental can also create biomass for compost and mulches and useful products like poles and firewood. Food production especially enhances our connection to the garden and lessens our dependency.
Seakale is a highly ornamental perennial with fantastic scent. Florets can be eaten like broccoli
Raised no-dig organic veggie beds are functional and beautiful
About Mark Laurence
A brief resume
An experienced and forward-thinking landscape designer
Mark Laurence has many years of experience as a sustainable garden and landscape designer. He has also worked extensively with living walls, is a consulting arborist (in the Middle-East), speaker at many sutainability conferences and with many published articles.
Based in Chichester, West Sussex, Mark works throughout the UK; he also works internationally in Europe, Scandinavia, the USA and the Middle-East. He is a committee member of the Society of Garden Designers, with a speciality in Sustainability, a Chartered Horticulturalist and Professional Member of the International Society of Arboriculture. Since 2007, Mark has developed and pioneered the use of modular hydroponic living wall systems and worked with them in the UK, Chicago, Norway and Dubai. Some of London's most iconic green walls were designed by Mark.
Mark's passion and focus is to create beautiful gardens which are adapted to thrive even with the climate crisis, which reconnect and empower people, reduce the level of external inputs needed and create homes and refuge for our vibrant wildlife.
Mark working with trees in Abu Dhabi
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mark laurence design ltd | adaptive landscapes for a changing world
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