South Gardens

Placing community, wellness and ecology at the heart of an urban sanctuary

The project was awarded the prestigious President's Award at the 2018 Landscape Institute Awards, celebrating excellence in the natural and  built environment. 

Elephant Park aspires to be UK's first Climate Positive development. Our brief was to deliver a liveable, engaging, playful and beautiful residential landscape with intrinsic ecological value. 


Our response was to embrace a robust planting design that prized native and wildlife friendly plant species and aimed to maximise biodiversity. Our design role included all the private and residential amenity areas including 3 courtyards, 2 communal roof gardens and 11 biodiverse green roofs.

Architecturally the scheme consists of conventional building typologies; 3-storey townhouses, 8-storey mansion blocks and a 16-storey tower providing 350 new residential units across three new city plots. Our design provides a residential landscape that engages with the buildings at multiple levels – from ground up to tree canopies, in vertical surfaces as green walls and at roof level. 

 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)
 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)

The courtyards imitate the complexity of a woodland edge. 


The planting comprises multiple layers of vegetation, from the ground herb layers, shrubs and climbers and into the tree canopy with fruiting canopy, mid and upper canopy trees. This woodland concept extends to movement and permeability with a diversity of thoroughfares, balancing a sense of liberty with gently curving paths, and planted glades that create a sense of depth and enclosure. 

 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)
 (Churchman Thornhill Finch)

“South Gardens provides a flagship case study of how a residential landscape can become an urban sanctuary – inclusive and ecologically rich – with a philosophy that places the community, wellness and ecology at its heart."  

-  Adam White. President, The Landscape Institute