Chris Eves MSGD
Garden designer Chris Eves on ground cover, Grayson Perry and why he hates having to make compromises. Written by Jackie Bennett.
What do you wish you’d known when you started out?
More about the SGD. Becoming a member was a huge boost to my confidence, on a par with gaining my degree.
Did you have a mentor or a design or horticultural idol?
My grandad Cyril, with his straight lines of veg, and my dad, who took on a garden with a 1:2 slope.
What has surprised you most?
How much I absorbed about gardening from growing up with keen gardeners.
Favourite style of architecture?
I was impressed by Grayson Perry’s ‘House for Essex’ at Wrabness, a place that has family connections – my nana ran the village shop there in the 1950s.
What skill do you wish you had?
It’s never too late to learn a new skill. The worst thing that can happen is to think that you have learned all that there is to know.
What is your favourite material to work with in the garden?
I like mat-forming ground cover plants such as Thymus serpyllum, which can be really useful for softening hard edges. I also like any hard landscaping materials that grow old gracefully.
Which part of the design process do you like best?
Working with contractors to make the design a reality: far less blood, sweat and tears than doing all the work yourself.
And what do you enjoy the least?
Having to make compromises.
An issue you’d like to rant about?
There seems to be a disconnect between the level of quality people expect inside and outside. There’s a misconception that work outside can somehow just be thrown together and people underestimate the multiple skills that are required. That, and the expectation that it can all be built yesterday for just a few hundred pounds.
Chris Eves runs a garden design partnership in the North East that is currently renovating the grounds of Whitworth Hall Hotel & Country Park in Durham. He has been a registered member of the SGD since 2011.