About Us

Kristina Clode Garden Design is an award-winning creative partnership between garden designer Kristina Clode MSGD and landscape consultant Sam Avard. Based near Rye in East Sussex we work on all sorts of projects from small gardens to large estates, and are happy to travel for the right project.

We passionately believe that a well-designed garden is one that looks harmonious with its surroundings. Working with the natural environment, the style of the house, as well as the wider landscape, we interpret our client's wishes to ensure the gardens created are not only visually stunning but also capture the spirit of the place. Using a fusion of both ornamental and native planting, our designs encourage wildlife into the garden to create a vibrant haven for all and a feast for the senses.

Both Sam and Kristina are committed to a focus on sustainable, regenerative, wildlife-friendly design. We believe a beautiful garden is not only enchanting and inspiring but also brimming with life. We have won numerous awards including the Society of Garden Designers ‘Design for the Environment Award in 2022 & 2021 and the coveted SGD Judge’s Award in 2021.

Kristina is a fully registered member of the Society of Garden Designers having passed their rigorous adjudication process. With a Masters degree in Garden History Kristina derives inspiration from gardens past and present and enjoys delving into a garden’s history to get a feel for its heritage and sense of place, weaving elements into designs where appropriate.

Sam has a background in landscape construction having run his own successful company in the past. Sam’s focus in the business is on the ‘how?’ and the 'why?' of the design and construction process. He has a diploma of higher education in engineering, a BA in philosophy and English literature, and is working towards his Master of Engineering degree with a focus on renewable energy and sustainability.

How would you describe your style?

"We create stunning wildlife-friendly, sustainable, plant-rich gardens which are sensitive to the setting and history of the site and capture the spirit of the place, always with our clients’ needs and requirements at their heart. By incorporating a rich tapestry of plants, water and stone into our gardens we create an immersive experience from naturalistic to exotic, jungle to cottage, formal to wild; tailoring the planting palette to our clients’ brief and to suit the environmental conditions. We devise movement through the garden, opening up views, encountering the unexpected and chancing upon places to sit, pause and reflect."

Please describe a recently completed project or tell us about the bespoke service that you offer

"Our approach is a simple one. First, we like to find out a little bit about you and what you are looking for, as well as your estimated budget, expectations and ideas. Then we come to visit your garden - always our favourite part of the job! We imagine it is like an artist looking at a blank canvas. A million different things occur to us as we look around: We assess the surroundings, the relation of the garden to the house and the layout of the scheme. We think about the plants, the view, your requirements as well as the best use of space and movement around the garden. Then, after some discussion, we evolve these ideas into a coherent plan to create an oasis of beauty and inspiration. All of this is viewed through the lens of sustainable and regenerative design and construction practices.

We have worked on a variety of projects over the years from city courtyards to large family gardens, tricky sloping sites and even two sensory gardens for schools. Each one brought its own unique challenges but with our creative vision and lots of hard work, our clients have been thrilled with the results. With over 20 years of experience in horticulture and design, an in-depth knowledge of contemporary and historic gardens as well as a heartfelt love of plants and nature, Kristina aims to design the garden that’s perfect for you.

Many of our gardens incorporate different areas or rooms, creating different moods, styles and experiences as you make your way through the garden. Even in a relatively modest-sized garden this can be achieved, such as the one we recently designed for a Grade II listed Georgian farmhouse in Tilmanstone, Kent. Its garden on three sides was transformed into a romantically planted formal front garden, leading through to a small corner Japanese-inspired water garden, continuing on to a small oval lawn at the side of the house, from which curvaceous paths weave through exuberantly planted mixed borders to a small orchard and wild flower meadow and to a formal brick paved vegetable garden and heritage glasshouse at the rear of the house. As our client said, they have all the elements of a country estate distilled into a perfectly formed and balanced cottage garden. This garden is due to open in 2024 for the National Garden scheme in only its second summer since planting."

Kristina Clode