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The National Wildlife Trusts’ first Hampton Court Show Garden ‘Renters Retreat’ designed by Zoe Claymore,  highlights ways to support the natural colonisation of local wildlife in residential gardens, employing transient tenant friendly features.

Over eight million households in England alone rent, of those eight million, over five million households have access to private outdoor spaces.

Garden designer, Zoe Claymore

“We really needed a garden explicitly focused on renters and what could be achieved in a rented space for novice gardeners.”

Befitting its name, the Renter’s Retreat exclusively uses a myriad of impermanent tenant friendly methods at multiple price points, creating a realistic source of accessible inspiration to encourage people in diverse circumstances to get into gardening.

“I have pennies, pounds and investment options in the garden so hopefully there is something for everybody to take away.”

From raised dismantlable steel planters at a higher price point, with its elevated stature providing a secluded habitat for insects below, without disrupting the aesthetic of a garden.

“I want to show people that a wildlife friendly garden doesn’t have to be one aesthetic, and it doesn’t have to be quote unquote messy. The chaos is beautiful, and this is controlled chaos.”

Design concept of a hügelkultur © Zoe Claymore Garden Design

An economical and buildable alternative to a steel planter is a Hügelkultur, also featured in The Renters’ Retreat Garden.

“It is a fantastic permaculture technique, with amazing water retentive properties and can be as cheap as chips but is a bit more effort than a log planter or filling in old pots and planters, that is your mid-range.”

To a multi-seasonal tree planted in a container, providing a multitude of environmental and biodiversity benefits, at minimum expenditure and labour.

Claymore’s sustainably built design exhibits how secluded and restricted spaces can be transformed into prosperous environments for plants, wildlife, and people, with every feature purposefully designed to fit through a standard UK sized door.

“The design is creative in a practical sense.

“I’m hoping that it will empower people to realise what they can do when they rent and not let renting hold them back or be a barrier to reaping the rewards of gardening and not let renting feel like a barrier to supporting biodiversity and doing something very practical for themselves and for the planet.”

With over one in two households in England’s largest cities such as London renting, supporting tenants getting into gardening is a largely untapped market with immense biodiversity and carbon offsetting potential.

At present, England is noted as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with 15% of species threatened with extinction and 53% of native plants in decline due to intense agriculture and climate change.

Emphasising the significance every garden can have in helping nature recover in urban areas.

“The garden is about allowing space for ourselves but also, particularly in urban cities to allow a bit more nature in, to create richer habitats for our wildlife, which is struggling quite a bit as we know.”

Everything in the garden will be in peat-free compost, with all plants growing pesticide free to further support the encouragement of wildlife.

The ‘get started’ garden is being constructed by Chelsea and Hampton show award-winners, Frogheath Landscapes, who are actively facilitating the means for the next generation to get into landscaping, through an apprenticeship training programme, with new applicants accepted every year.

A majority of the Renter’s Retreat will be relocated to the Centre for Wildlife Gardening, one of the 36 nature reserves in Peckham, tended to by the London Wildlife Trust in after the show to be enjoyed by local communities.

The Renters Retreat Garden © Zoe Claymore Garden Design


‘Aspirational realism’ is the aim of Claymore’s design, showcasing authentic and realistic inspiration for tenants to transform their outside space, both for their well-being and natures, highlighting that everyone has a part to play in combating natures decline.

The Renters Retreat by Zoe Claymore and the Wildlife Trust will be on display at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, the show runs from 4 – 9 July.

More Hampton Court Garden Festival news here:

Sustainable biodiversity blooms at this years’ RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

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