An Interview with International Garden Designer; John Wyer to discuss garden design trends in 2017

We sat down with John Wyer from Bowles and Wyer to look at what 2017 has in store for their UK based design practice and garden design in general.

Based on the Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire border in the UK, Bowles & Wyer have become leading landscape and garden designers and contractors, working in their UK base and internationally for both commercial and residential clients. John Wyer officially founded Bowles and Wyer with Chris Bowles in 1993 and since then the business has continued to grow year on year.

Bowles and Wyer have an excellent reputation in both commercial and residential landscape design. Currently their work is 60% residential and 40% commercial with a focus on prime central London, which brings its own challenges with both access restrictions and interesting and unusual spaces where one needs to consider not only the horizontal but also the vertical space as with any city garden.

City Garden, Belgravia, London by Bowles and Wyer

Commercial Landscape Design

2017 looks to be an exciting year for Bowles and Wyer with 3 prestigious commercial projects in the pipeline in prime central London; working with the Cadogan Estate on the Kings Road, Park Crescent West in Regents Park, and Audley House in Mayfair. As always, they will be combining these projects with their residential projects both in the UK and internationally.  As we talked about the projects for 2017 we discussed the differences between commercial and residential and the challenges that they both bring.  John says that “commercial and residential are very different but not always in the way you think”.  In commercial projects, there are many more meetings, more drawings and more information required due to the larger team that you are part of.  This tends to be a more decisive process due to the super structure in place but given the nature of large commercial projects developers often have bigger worries to focus on meaning the landscaping decisions can be pushed down the priority list.

commercial design trends 2017
The Lancasters, Bayswater, London

Residential Garden Design

On residential projects, it is always about finding the balance between budget and design, Bowles and Wyer make it a priority to spend time educating their clients prior to the design phase; looking at their database of designs and costs per sqm, allowing the client to understand the true cost of each design.  John finds this key in helping clients understand what they can expect from their project based on their budget.

Residential garden design trends 2017
Roof Terrace, Hampstead, London by Bowles and Wyer

Garden Design Trends 2017

Looking at 2017 John Wyer is optimistic for the London market post Brexit. He thinks the effect will be neutral if not positive as he believes foreign investment in London will rise and this will likely be reflected in garden design.  Looking back over the last few years garden design has been very much about twin trends: on the one hand right angles and minimalism, and a second trend for upcycling and stripped back finishes. John believes these trends for were partly caused by the influence of design software such as SketchUp and also the effect of the recession.

terrace firepit garden design trends 2017
Chelsea Flower Show Winner 2016 by Andy Sturgeon

In 2017 John believes that we will be looking at a different kind of geometry, moving away from the right angles, incorporating more curves in design and an introduction of more luxurious surfaces; etched metals and coated finishes.  The advancement in porcelain has also made a significant impact on design and we will likely see more of this in 2017 with substantial developments giving many more options for outdoor floor surfaces.

The use of fire and water in landscape design is something that is here to stay.  Bowles and Wyer have seen an increase over recent years in clients looking to incorporate fire pits into their designs, where they might have previously requested a hot tub or Jacuzzi.  The “plug and play nature” of a fire pit is something that appeals to clients. The biggest challenge with incorporating fire into the design is always about matching the cost to client’s expectations.

outdoor living garden design trends 2017
London Roof Terrace by John Wyer

It’s safe to say that it looks to be another successful year for John and the team at Bowles and Wyer and with designs like this it’s not hard to see why.  To find out more about Bowles and Wyer and their work take a look at their website or you can follow John on Twitter.