Four Acres, Kingston Upon Thames

This four-acre site surrounding a Grade II listed Arts and Crafts house is situated in the leafy London suburb of Kingston upon Thames. Once a family home, it has since been developed into a 40-bedroom leadership retreat and management training centre.

Our client is a large global FMCG company and our brief from them was to connect the building’s recently refurbished interior with the landscape beyond. Quite particularly, the grounds needed to provide spaces for relaxation and contemplation and zones that would encourage discussion and intervention as part of the leadership training programme.

We developed a masterplan for the site that introduced 13 characterful ‘rooms’ within the estate, each with its own purpose and functionality. The first phase of the development has been to prioritise four of these areas for detailed design and to move into construction. These have included: a new orchard with pears, wall trained fruit trees and some rare heritage apple varieties; an edible garden for the chefs and gardener to grow for the kitchen; a Birch glade with acid grassland and an architect-designed yoga studio; and an entrance garden with large topiary and planting for year-round interest.

Employing sustainable practices was a key driver for the project and this included rainwater harvesting through the introduction of a 10,000-litre above ground storage tank and recycling all waste on site.

We always work to ensure that we make a positive contribution to wildlife and local biodiversity through our designs and careful selection of materials and planting. Our masterplan included planting for pollinators and trees and shrubs for birds and small mammals, as well as working round an existing badger set and a number of existing beehives to make space for nature to thrive.

To bring this beautiful project to fruition we collaborated with a number of other professionals including dMFK Architects, Acrylicize Arts and Garden Builders for the landscape construction.

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