Mottisfont Abbey, National Trust

  • Mottisfont Abbey House
  • Mottisfont Abbey Lime Avenue
  • Mottisfont Abbey Spring Daffodils
  • Mottisfont Abbey Terrace
  • Mottisfont Abbey Font
  • Mottisfont Abbey Rose Garden
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About This Project


In 2013, Tristen was approached by the National Trust as an up and coming young designer, along with 5 other short listed garden designers. The brief given was titled ‘Framing the Future’ and Tristen was to submit a design for the redevelopment of the historic ‘Frame Yard’ walled garden at beautiful Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire. The Frame Yard covers an area of 1 acre and historically formed the productive area for main house. The Frame Yard sits alongside the world famous rose collection of Graham Stuart Thomas and the new design was to work in harmony with this attraction, whilst signalling a progressive approach by the National Trust.
All designs were appraised by National Trust executives as well as Mottisfont’s own horticultural team. To our delight the National Trust team selected Tristen, not only on the merit of his design, but also as the candidate they felt they would most like to work alongside creating this ground breaking new garden for the National Trust.
The design was to offer an eclectic mix of materials such as glass, corten steel and quartz paddlestones creating contemporary and stunning features not seen in any other National Trust Garden. On first arrival into the garden visitors were greeted by a central avenue with a 21m long rill water feature culminating at a corten steel bowl and raised seating area. This main avenue is flanked by 4 laser cut corten steel sculptures which would also serve as rain harvesting sculptures to help sustainably irrigate the garden. The most striking item however beyond the water feature is the observation dome, a glass fronted beautiful organic structure which allowed users to view the garden from 2m above ground level. Along the north boundary of the garden were a contemporary take on the original glass houses that occupied these positions. The new glass houses would act as sheltered visitor seating, an educational area with hydroponic green walls and also an area for solar panels to be located to help power the garden features.
The planting scheme was to be far more wild with bold swathes of herbaceous perennials in a prairie style, with a hint of formality from an avenue of pleached trees. Moving through the garden towards the rose collection the planting harks back to the gardens productive history and features wild flower meadows and a fruit orchard.
After being successfully chosen by the National Trust, Tristen began meetings with Mike Buffin (National Trust Consultancy Manager), Paul Cook (Mottisfont General Manager) and David Stone (Head Gardener) to discuss the implementation of the design and carrying the deign forward to the detailing stage. Unfortunately in summer 2014 in was announced due to other ongoing commitments the National Trust had to shelve the project until further notice.
When the project is built, Tristen will become the first external garden designer to design a garden for the National Trust in over 25 years. It is hugely exciting and will see his garden viewed by upwards of a 100,000 people in a season.