Michael Paul Harvey Landscape Design was established in 1997 to fuse the art of garden design with the practicalities of garden creation, and has since become known for accentuating the inherent beauty of spaces with startling simplicity.


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Spirit of Place

Searching for ‘What is appropriate?’ underpins how I work and why I place creative reliance on the intrinsic qualities of a space. Only through long observation can the essential characteristics of a site be identified, and only then can one begin to understand how to appropriately enhance these qualities in ways that foster a sense of place.

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The working relationships I share with clients and their gardeners are vital partnerships, as they lead to the exchange of ideas that drives the creative process. Designing a garden and creating a garden are distinct processes — the two are bridged when working alongside clients and gardeners during every project phase, and over the course of long-term management.

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Simplest of Means

Design born from the simplest of means achieves the most dramatic effect. Simplicity of concept and design, plantings appropriate to prevailing conditions, and skilled use of materials grant the freedom to explore and innovate spaces without the need for coy ornamentation.

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Painting With Plants

I compose with plants in gardens in much the same way as artists apply paint to canvases. Unlike the static painted surface, however, my work is a continual negotiation with nature and its processes, compelling me always to consider ecology and aesthetics equally. This manner of working allows reason and romanticism to come together when shaping spaces that are as practical to maintain, as they are beautiful to behold.

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More about Spirit of Place…

It was Alexander Pope who first applied the concept of PLACE to the design of landscapes and gardens, describing it as ‘Spirit of Place’ and epitomising it in verse: 'Consult the genius of the place in all; / That tells the waters to rise, or fall; / Or helps the ambitious hill the heavens to scale, / Or scoops in circling theatres the vale; / Calls in the country, catches opening glades, / Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades, / Now breaks, or now directs, the intending lines; / Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.'


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After an initial consultation with a prospective client, a written brief is drawn up outlining the scope and principal objectives of the project. Photographs and preliminary observations are made of the terrain to begin to understand how the unique characteristics of the place could be enhanced to meet the needs of the clients.


Site Analysis & Survey

To develop an understanding of the space, as much information about the site is collected and recorded. A topographical survey is usually conducted through a surveyor, which provides critical information and forms the basis for all design and planning. An inventory of existing plants and vegetation is undertaken, together with a photographic survey. Land use history is researched and compiled. Drainage, hydrology, soil texture, soil pH, and the movement of the sun are all ascertained.

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Concept Proposals

Information from the client, survey and site analysis is assimilated into early concepts for discussion and continued development of proposals. This normally takes the form of drawings and sketches based on the topographical survey.


Final Proposals

Through evolving discussions and working-up of advanced proposals, drawings are created with necessary detail to form a project budget, and to plan construction and planting.

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At this stage, the necessary construction drawings & planting plans are supplied to contractual firms bidding to undertake the proposed work. Whether carried out in short order, or phased over a longer period of time, our best gardens have developed through close collaboration with clients, contractors and gardeners. To fully realise project proposals, we provide critical and timely oversight, working alongside clients and contractors to ensure the highest possible standards are achieved through the most practical and efficient of means.


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