Thomas Hoblyn creates Chelsea Flower Show garden with textured walls and wooden screen

Dezeen promotion: landscape designer Thomas Hoblyn has created a Secret Garden-inspired show garden featuring a hand-carved oak screen and walls textured with Armourcoat limestone render.

Hoblyn designed The Boodles Secret Garden for this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which took place in London from 21 to 26 September. It was installed by garden designers The Garden Builders.

Entrance to The Boodles Secret Garden by Thomas Hoblyn
The Boodles Secret Garden was presented at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The designer's aim was to create an enclosed retreat in the spirit of the secret garden featured in the children's book by Frances Hodgson-Burnett.

To achieve this, he planned a series of walls to divide up the space using materials that have just as natural a texture as the planting areas.

Wall finished with Armourcoat PPX at the Chelsea Flower Show
Two walls finished in Armourcoat limestone render provide the backdrop to the garden

The two walls that form the backdrop to the garden are hand-finished with Armourcoat's exterior polished plaster (PPX).

This limestone render is durable, low-maintenance, and offers the appearance of naturally honed stone.

Shadows on wall finished with Armourcoat PPX at the Chelsea Flower Show
The render offers the look of real plaster, but is durable enough for outdoors

"The garden has a very naturalistic feel about it, using a lot of natural products like timber in its raw form and hand-dressed stone," said Hoblyn, "and I really wanted to create a wall that had the same mood."

"Armourcoat PPX creates this lovely pitted effect, so it looks like it's been there for a long time, which is bang on for the ambience I was trying to create for the sanctuary garden," he explained.

Wooden screen by Jan Hendzel in front of Armourcoat wall in The Boodles Secret Garden
There is an undulating oak screen in the front of the garden

The garden's undulating wooden screen forms the entrance to the enclosed garden.

The screen is made from consecutively cut oak sheets that have been hand carved to create a rippling surface. There are gaps between each sheet, as well as a doorway cutaway, offering visitors a glimpse inside.

On either side of these walls, Hoblyn added ornamental grasses, tree ferns, and flowers in shades of pink and blue.

Armourcoat and wood details at the Chelsea Flower Show
Hoblyn felt it was important to use materials with a natural texture

This is the seventh garden that Hoblyn has created for the Chelsea Flower Show, which typically takes place in May but was postponed this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here, he hoped to highlight the importance of finding sanctuary and restoring wellbeing at a time of global crisis.

Exterior of The Boodles Secret Garden by Thomas Hoblyn
The design takes inspiration from The Secret Garden, a book by Frances Hodgson-Burnett

The designer points out that this is not his first time using Armourcoat PPX in a show garden, as he believes the product is well suited to an outdoor setting.

"It's a perfect exterior product as it looks flawless and is designed to last," he said.

Thomas Hoblyn at the Chelsea Flower Show
Thomas Hoblyn has exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show seven times

"I would use it for all my show gardens because it's a great way to get a really good effect, but it's a real product that you can use outside," he added. "This is not a stage set; this is a real garden."

The Boodles Secret Garden was awarded a Silver Gilt medal from the organisers, recognising it as one of the best in show.

For more information about Armourcoat PPX, visit the manufacturer's website.

Photography is by Patrick Kerrigan-Hall.


Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Armourcoat as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.