Book now on my course How to Design Your Garden — with special guests
This five-week, online ten hour course is an introduction to the five basics of garden design and is perfect for both amateurs and professionals! This online course is conducted over Zoom and starts on 7th March at 6.30pm. Book your tickets here.
Are you looking for someone to help you create the low maintenance, wildlife-friendly garden of your dreams?
This year would you like to spend more time in your garden without worrying about how it looks?
Do you basically know what you want but are struggling to visualise it?
Well, you've come to the right place, Charlotte can help you. With over two decades of experience as a hands-on gardener, garden designer and horticultural adviser for a huge variety of gardens in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Bath and Bristol, you can rest assured that Charlotte knows what she is doing.
In these troubled times those of us lucky enough to have an outside space realise what an oasis of calm it can be.
Being in gardens and outside places can vastly improve both our mental and physical health, that's a scientific fact, but if your garden isn't working for you it can just feel like a burden. It doesn’t have to be like that, Charlotte feels gardens should work for you not you for them.
How much will it cost?
"It all depends" is always the answer. A good rule of thumb is to think how much you'd be willing to spend on a kitchen and that's a good starting point. Gardens aren't cheap, but Charlotte has experience of working with the tightest of budgets. A well-designed garden is a great investment, it can vastly improve both your quality of life and the value of your home.
About Capability Charlotte
Charlotte Howard is Capable by name and by nature, her passion for art, design and wildlife is her calling and what drives her. The joy and excitement she sees in her clients faces when she presents her designs is what lifts her soul. She feels she’s very lucky to have a job that makes people’s lives that little bit better.
Charlotte is also highly qualified, she is an RHS Master of Horticulture with a National Diploma in Horticulture, but she sees her two decades of hands-on gardening, as well as her 10 years of experience in fashion retail and sales, as her real qualifications.
Charlotte has spent many years refining her skills, constantly learning and updating her knowledge. She likes to keep up with the trends and is always learning new skills and techniques to give the best possible service to her clients.
Charlotte comes from a bohemian family of artists, designers, architects and historians and believes her background gives her a unique edge. She is also practical, funny, friendly and down to earth. Clients feel at ease with Charlotte, and say she has an uncanny knack of drawing out of people what they want.
Charlotte will take time to get to know you and the other people who will use the garden. Many of her clients have said they have discovered an unknown passion for gardening once they finally have a garden that works for them.
“Charlotte transformed our awful front garden from being an embarrassment ... to a lush aromatic haven for bees. She also managed to make it easy for two non-gardeners to maintain it whilst giving lots of supportive advice. She is incredibly hard-working with a clear design vision. If we ever have a back garden, we will be employing her to design it.”
Diluki — Bath
Charlotte's beautiful, hand-drawn designs are a work of art that many clients have framed. They are natural, simple and elegant, always with a twist of quirkiness to reflect your own personal style.
Charlotte prefers to create real gardens, working with the contours of the space. She uses soft curves to create a flow that leads you gently around your garden to a moment of joy or surprise, a secret nook to sit and read, or a hidden mirror that deceives you into thinking the garden goes further. She believes gardens should bring out your inner child.
Some of Charlotte's Gardens
Charlotte can design for any area, in any style and for any budget. She draws exclusively by hand and is able to call on her extensive knowledge of classical art, garden history and modern garden trends as inspiration. Below are some examples of her work.
The process will start with an initial £80, one hour consultation in your garden. This is a great way to get to know each other and the space and to sketch out some very rough ideas. Charlotte will book a day to survey with her assistant. From the survey she will create a 'base plan'. This is the basic shape of your garden including the elements to be kept.
The Garden Design Meeting
Through her unique approach that she has spent years refining, you and Charlotte will sit together, and over a period of two hours, with Charlotte's gentle guidance, you will design your garden together. Charlotte sees herself as just the facilitator, she will sketch out your ideas onto the page in front of your eyes.
Once Charlotte is sure you are satisfied with the sketch she will go home and create a beautiful, hand-drawn design for you. This process will take 1-2 weeks. Charlotte doesn't use CAD or flashy 3D walk throughs, she thinks they are expensive, sterile and give a client an unreal expectation. Instead, in her design presentation, she will 'walk' you through the garden through imaginative description. Each design comes with a presentation pack, packed with inspirational ideas, photos, mood boards, plant lists, useful information and links to websites so you and your landscaper will know exactly what your garden will look like.
Once you have signed off your bespoke design, Charlotte will help you to find a landscaper to build the garden. Through the years, Charlotte has built up a large portfolio of useful contacts and will be able to recommend excellent, reliable landscapers and craftspeople, all with the same ethos of sustainability and attention to detail as her. The landscapers that Charlotte works with always take great care to accurately bring what you and she have created together from paper into real life. The gardens will always be marked out before any digging is done to help clients visualise the completed garden and to make sure that they are happy with how the space works. Charlotte is always on hand during the build for advice and site visits.
Softscaping is key to Charlotte's gardens, she tries to keep hard landscaping to the minimum. This will save you money as well as being more sustainable. Plants should be queen of the garden!
After the build, for a small extra fee, Charlotte will come back to your home and help you choose the plants with whatever budget you have left. She uses fantastic trade nurseries (listed at the end of the website) to get you the best quality plants at the best possible prices.
She will get you quotes and organise delivery and place the plants. Leaving you to plant them yourself under her guidance, or if that is not possible, she will find you a professional gardener to do it.
“Charlotte has been absolutely fantastic from the moment she stepped foot in our garden. We would like to thank her so much for her help and inspiration which will turn our garden into something much more enjoyable and will allow our daughter to feel like she owns part of it too.”
Keeley — Atworth
All that is left to do now is sit back, relax and enjoy your beautiful outside space, made just for you!
Garden Advice Package
If you’ve taken on a new garden and are not sure what to do with it or you just need some fresh ideas for an old garden that you’ve fallen out of love with Charlotte can help.
“Wonderfully creative & clever with my small, cottage garden and extremely warm and personable. Charlotte’s extensive knowledge was freely given as she walked with me around my place, understanding what I wanted to change to make this a soothing space for therapy & art clients plus my family and ‘busy’ dog. On further visits, Charlotte was enthusiastic with what I had accomplished from her advice. I have fallen in love with my garden again and can’t wait til Spring to see it all growing & taking shape. THANKYOU!”
Lucy — Winsley
Charlotte offers a friendly and informal Garden Consultation Service to get you going without committing to a full design. This includes:
- Initial 1-2 hr visit and walk around to get an idea of your needs, when and how you would like to use your garden, what styles, colours and plants you like and what your budget is. Every part of your garden both hard and soft landscaping, amenities and problem areas will be taken into account.
- All suggestions made during the visit will be presented as a written report; a maintenance schedule can also be included.
- At only £250 this is an ideal gift, and should you decide you want to upgrade to a full design later, this will be discounted from the price (subject to terms and conditions)
Sue is still using Charlotte’s advice report for inspiration and advice four years later:
“Charlotte has a wonderful ability to visualise a garden. We struggled for 3+ years with half a garden in tiers of concrete and the other half an overgrown mess, then Charlotte came for a visit. As she walked down the garden she pointed out things we'd never noticed and shared her ideas for every aspect, design, planting, seating, lighting, etc. She followed this up with a detailed written design so we could work our way through the garden one job at a time. In less than a year the 'overgrown mess' has become a garden where you can sit and listen to the waterfall and relax. Thank you Charlotte, it would never have happened without you.”
Sue — Weston-super-Mare
"No-Frills" Garden Package
For those on a tight budget, Charlotte also offers "No-Frills" garden advice. This can be done in your garden or virtually over video call, just bring a notepad! This is priced at £80 an hour (travel expenses apply over 30 miles). Many clients like Elizabeth below have found this an invaluable service to start them off:
“Charlotte was super helpful in our garden advice session! Very friendly to chat to, and so many brilliant ideas. I now have lots of notes on plant suggestions and shape ideas specific to our garden. Most importantly, we're motivated to get going on it now with a better idea of which direction to take it in. Would definitely recommend.”
Elizabeth — Beanacre
Human beings have an innate connection to nature. Studies have shown time and time again that being able to view nature, whether through a window or via indoor plants improves our mental and physical health. Nowadays more than any other, people need nature. Many people don’t have the luxury of a garden or pets, with house plants you can take care of a living thing. Charlotte can help you chose the perfect house plants in conjunction with bespoke terrarium maker Terrachic of Bath.
For businesses, indoor plants have been shown to help reduce sickness and boost energy and creativity amongst their workforce. Charlotte can show you how a living wall can create impact, clear pollution and save energy in your workspace.
If you are looking to bring greenery into your home, Charlotte can provide a personalised houseplant ordering and advice service.
“Capability Charlotte did a house plant audit in my home with a thorough consultation and a fun morning's shopping in local nurseries and garden centers. She even spent time with my daughters teaching them about propagating. It surpassed my expectations, especially the fact she spent time educating my girls. Perfect for keeping children occupied while schools are closed”
Michelle — Trowbridge
Do you have a wedding, funeral or special occasion that needs some original and eco-friendly plant styling? Rather than using cut flowers, why not fill your space with plants in pots which you can then plant in your garden or give to friends as a memory of a special day or poignant moment?
Charlotte can work with you to design you a magical space and is happy to collaborate with local florists and the venue to give you a full package.
In this magical winter wedding at Wellington Barn in Calne, Charlotte worked with The Derry Hill Florist. Photos by Joseph Kinerman
“I couldn’t recommend Charlotte more highly for any venue decor/design consultancy and delivery! Charlotte designed all of the beautiful venue decor for our December barn wedding. We were looking for a lot of greenery and lovely unique touches, which is why we chose to work with Charlotte rather than a standard florist. Charlotte was very professional and so creative and really brought our vision to life - going the extra mile eg going to a mistletoe auction to buy enough mistletoe to really make an impact at the venue. She also worked with a local florist to design and build our bouquets and button holes. The venue looked absolutely stunning and magical with all of the candles and greenery. We received so many compliments on the day! Very glad we worked with Charlotte :)”
Peppa — London
Charlotte is also an experienced horticultural lecturer, lecturing for Garden Clubs, the WI and New College Swindon. Email her for a list of topics and fees.
“...It was an entertaining and informative talk, Charlotte effortlessly engaged with our group and shared her fascinating journey about how she’s got to where she is with Capability Charlotte ... We cannot recommend Charlotte enough and are so grateful to her for tailoring such a beautiful event for our group, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive! We look forward to welcoming her back!”
Minerva WI — Bath
Charlotte can also take on large-scale commercial and residential projects, both as a designer and a project manager. Her largest scheme to date was with Wadswick Green Retirement Village in Corsham, Wiltshire. Find out more about the project here.
For residential maintenance work Capability Charlotte can also put you in contact with her network of highly trained gardeners and landscapers who can assist with everything garden related including one-off blitzes, occasional or regular maintenance, border revamps or complete makeovers.
“Thank you so much for transforming our garden. You’ve made your designs come alive and we can now enjoy our garden. Thank you.”
Natasha — Bradford-on-Avon
Are you struggling to think of a perfect present for your loved ones? Don't waste money on
things that will become landfill, buy them an experience.
Do you know someone who has a garden but doesn't know what to do with it? Why not buy them some time with a garden expert. These beautiful gift cards can be used for any occasion.
- Prices start at £80 for an hour of garden advice.
- £250 pays for a full garden consultation with a follow-up written report which will include guidance on maintenance as well as advice on how to make the most of the garden, with pictures and links to helpful websites.
- For a more generous gift, a full garden design starts from only £900.
Terms and conditions apply, travel expenses to further afield may be charged.
Anthony Dear Landscapes — Hard landscaping and building
Garden Doctor Chris — Creative and biodiverse gardening and landscaping
Viridis Landscapes — Female-run hard landscaping, planting and building team
Paved in Stone Ltd — Award winning hard landscaping, specialists in natural stone paving.
Arvensis Perennials — Trade-only nursery, for herbaceous perennials, grasses and ferns
Barters Farm Nurseries — Trade nursery with public plant centre. Trees, perennials and grasses, particularly good for shrubs.
Downside Nurseries — Family-run nursery, open to the public 7 days a week
Samscape Plants — Tropical and Mediterranean plants
Terrachic of Bath — Terrariums and indoor gardens
West Kington Nurseries — Trade-only nursery for perennials, grasses and shrubs. See website for public sale days
Kingsdown — Specialists in mature trees and shrubs
Green Goddess Gardening — Carlie Green, garden maintenance and planting
The Derry Hill Florist — Floral designs and workshops
Bolingbroke Design Service — Architects practice
Victoria Tapper — Business and lifestyle photography
Guy Bellingham — Fine art portrait photographer
“Charlotte’s professional and friendly approach transformed our plain new build garden into a multi purpose family garden. Her energy and enthusiasm for gardening was contagious and she showed us how we can enjoy it throughout the year. She turned part of the garden into a kitchen garden with raised beds to allow us to grow produce with the children as well as creating a larger patio area to enjoy eating outside. All within our tight budget! We would highly recommend her! Thank you Charlotte!”
Laura — Bradford-on-Avon