Designer Robert Myers tells Zia Allaway about his new landscape project
Winner of six RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medals, Robert Myers MSGD is renowned for his high-profile public and private landscape designs. He and his team are currently working on the landscape for a new housing development in Cambridge.
What is the new development?
This new £1 billion sustainable development in northwest Cambridge is the largest single capital project that Cambridge University has undertaken in its 800-year history. It includes student and staff accommodation, university buildings, public space, community facilities and private market homes. The first phase includes 240 private homes, designed by Alison Brooks and Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE) and built by Hill Residential, for which we are designing the landscape.
Myers’s sustainable neighbourhood
Tell us about your design for the project
We have worked very closely with the architects to create a new sustainable neighbourhood, which includes private gardens, courtyards and terraces, as well as pedestrian park-like streets and treelined residential roads and mews.
The design includes a network of swales and rills, together with underground storage tanks, which will capture the rainwater that falls on the site, to be reused for irrigation. We have also used a simple, elegant but robust palette of materials, including permeable block paving and bound gravel.
How did you choose the planting?
The trees and plants have been chosen to enhance biodiversity and provide seasonal interest. To create streets with different characters, we have lined them with trees with different attributes, such as spring blossom or autumn colour, while the softer planting includes robust grasses and perennials mixed with native species to help attract wildlife and insect pollinators.
Green roofs planted with succulents and drought-tolerant perennials will help to insulate the buildings and create wildlife habitats, and a stately oak, which sits in the centre of one of the squares, has been designed as a potential veteran of the future.