Woodland Gardens

beautiful and resilient ecosystems

Woodlands - and particularly woodland edge - are one of the most biodiverse and rewarding habitats we can create, even in a small garden. Creating woodland gardens combines Mark's skills as a designer, aboriculturist and ecological thinker.

People have intereacted with, and managed woodlands for thousands of years and they can be a rich resource, producing wood products, fuel and a variety of foods. We can recreate some of this, even in a modern, small garden and combine productivity, beauty and biodiversity in one of the most climate-resilient ecosystems. This principle holds true in temperate climates, but also in arid regions of the Middle-East, where Mark also works.

The Coppice Garden

a landscape methodology

Multi stemmed coppice as the basis of a garden

Managing the garden as an active resource that feeds back into the garden itself, is a circular, or closed-loop ecosystem and is highly resilient. It also create a staggering range of biodiverity and change within the fixed framework of a garden, as light is opened up in one area and shade increases in another, giving a huge dynamic in a small plot. The coppiced material can be used in the garden as poles or edging, it can be chipped into mulch to be returned tot he soil. Such a garden needs no external input.

The range of woodland plants, both native and exotic, that thrive in woodland conditions is well known to many gardeners, giving them a well thought-through structure and management plan is less well considered, yet makes all the difference.

Camassias on the woodland edge

Camassias flowering on the woodland edge, planted in grass. They love and thrive in these conditions, as do many other plants.

Coppiced hazel stool in West Sussex

A garden hazel stool, coppiced in winter; the thin epicormic growths were from the previous year and left intact. Sunlight now reaches this area.

Assessing Soil Health

soil ecology and health

Landscape Health Depends upon Soil Health

We have misunderstood, or ignored the vital role of soil in supporting both local and planitary health. Good soil supports a teeming diversity of soil microbes and fungi, sequesters carbon, stores water and supports all life. The soil of a garden or under a tree is vital to the health of everything. We are drying out our soils, continent-wide, yet local changes in management can have an immediate effect and benefit. It may be as simple as de-compacting and mulching soil and that is what I can advise on.

Oyster mushroom are essential ecosystem providers

Oyster mushroom are essential ecosystem providers. A well as being edible, they can also deter parasitic fungi like Honey fungus

making mulch from garden waste

Mulches are essential to create good, active soil ecology. Using garden waste is a good, cyclical systems principle.

mark laurence design ltd | adaptive landscapes for a changing world

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