It's all clear for Lilly!

Chris Cooper-Hayes - Monday, July 28, 2014

It’s smiles all round! Lilly’s garden has been transformed and better still, her cancer is all gone. Read on to see what CHGD has achieved with help from some very generous people.

Over the past couple of months I have been working on a project to create a fantastic new garden for the North family in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, and I’m pleased to say that work is complete. When I first visited the garden it was overgrown and had nowhere nice for the family to sit and enjoy. It lacked privacy, life and colour. It wasn’t relaxing or pleasing to look at, and it wasn’t the sort of garden a little girl fighting her way back from cancer deserved to have to play in. There was nowhere to sit except in the shade of the north facing wall. It was a garden in need of a personality to reflect the vibrancy and energy of Lilly and her family.

Garden Designer Leicester garden before landscaping

(Lilly's garden before work begins)

So on a soggy June morning myself, Tony Harding and landscaper David Greaves and his lads arrived with a truck full of materials, some of which had been kindly donated by builders merchants John A Stevens of Nottingham, and Stonemarket paving products. We set to work clearing the site and installing new sandstone paving, pathway, trellis screens and an archway, plus a nice flat lawn. Sleepers helped create changes of levels up the garden and eliminate the annoying slope. In just one day all the hard landscaping was finished, with Lilly’s dad Lewis even lending a hand with a wheelbarrow! We were soaked to the skin and sinking up to our ankles in mud, but the end result for one day was amazing. Thanks guys!

Garden design in Earl Shilton after landscaping

(The finished garden includes a relocated sandstone patio to take full advantage of the sunshine)

Garden Design Earl Shilton after landscaping

(Trellis screens and the archway bring much needed privacy)

Garden Border Design Leicestershire Echinacea Spirea Goldmound

(Summer colour plants include Echinacea 'Little Magnus', Spirea 'Goldmound' and Penstemon 'Hewell's Pink')

Over the following days, myself, Lewis and Sonia and their family set to work painting woodwork. I’d chosen quite a funky palette of colours from the Cuprinol Shades range, including dark grey fencing, damson for the shed and a pastel pink for the trellis. The grey followed the interior theme of the house, while the pink was for purely girly reasons! Low maintenance planting has been introduced including stipa arundinacea, a terrific ornamental grass suitable for partial shade, geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ and ‘Obsidian’. I’ve even squeezed a small Amelanchier tree in to add some structure and height plus a whole load of seasonal interest. Some wildlife friendly plants have been included such as echinacea for butterflies, penstemons, lavender, foxgloves and some lovely Osteospermum "Tresco Purple'. Finally to aid privacy I’ve selected Hedera colchica ‘Sulphur Heart’, a large leaved ivy with deep tones of green and gold, to scramble over the trellis to create a colourful barrier between the neighbouring property.

Garden Design Leicester Border planting scheme Echinacea and Spirea Heuchera Lime Marmalade

Garden Design Leicestershire Border redesign stipa arundinacea

(The dark grey fencing really lets the vibrant colours of the stipa arundinacea shine)

Thank you again to everyone who helped me make this idea a reality, and I hope you like what we’ve done to the garden. It has been a really rewarding project for everyone involved. The family are delighted with it, and have spent so much of this wonderful early summer spell outside. Best news is, Lilly’s cancer has all gone and her hair is growing back! For the first time in her life she can be submerged in water, so quite rightly she has been out splashing in a paddling pool and putting her new garden to excellent use. I wish the family every happiness after their ordeals of the past few years, and may they have many, many fun filled hours outside in the sunshine.

Lilly in garden Leicester after cancer all clear

Thanks to:

David Greaves:

Tony Harding:

John A Stephens:


Steve Chadwick:

Priscilla Morris:

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