Nicholsons Garden Design: Intuitive design with climate and Nature in mind

Gardens that support Nature are beautiful, says RHS judge Liz Nicholson, managing director of Nicholsons Garden Design, which green-audits the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show.

Have you ever been excited and inspired by the wonderful gardens that dress Main Avenue at the Chelsea Flower Show, but had an uneasy feeling around sustainability? This was how I felt for many years before I became an RHS judge and was able to get involved.

Anybody who is passionate about gardens will be crucially aware of our climate and Nature emergencies. With temperatures exceeding tipping point and decades of biodiversity loss, we see real challenges in our gardens every year. The wettest winter, the driest May, coldest November — it seems Nature is lurching from crisis to crisis.

The RHS showcases world-class designers and, increasingly, over the past handful of years, we’ve seen an awareness of designing for balance with Nature. You may recall the Rewilding Britain garden acclaimed as best in show in 2022, even though traditionalists claimed it was not a garden; for my part, I was fascinated at the observational excellence in recreating this masterpiece — and when else did you have 150,000 people gazing at a patch of Nature so intently?

The right plants will support pollinators as well as look beautiful.

At Nicholsons Garden Design studio, we intuitively design with climate and Nature in mind, and this year we have had the privilege of sharing our work with the RHS. Nicholsons was appointed to audit every show and sanctuary garden for Chelsea 2024. The Green-Design Audit looks at impacts on climate, biodiversity, waste, water, and society. After initial assessments, we met with designers and contractors to discuss ways to drive improvements for sustainability goals. We have been so excited with the energy and engagement, and without doubt, this feels like a team approach to delivering measurable change.

The Chelsea Flower Show is influential; it offers a fashion runway for our industry, inspiring people in their own gardens. Like Nicholsons, the RHS is thought-leading and showcases exemplary design with the environment in mind. The gardens displayed must protect climate and Nature; otherwise, we are sacrificing sustainable futures for our grandchildren by pursuing short-term gratification. At Nicholsons, we have a clear vision: sensitive, landscape-led design.

Contact us to find out more: telephone 01869 340342, or visit  

Make it green: Nicholsons Garden Design