Expert Advice

With RHS qualifications and many years gardening experience I can help you to solve problems, advise on improving garden layout, suggest suitable plants and explain how to look after them. Location is no barrier, just take some digital photographs and book an internet consultation.

Plant Sourcing

It’s great when people are confident to choose plants for themselves but if you lack time or want large or unusual specimens, I can source from suppliers not open to the public and set the plants out where they are to be planted, if you want.

Learn online

Learn what you want, when you want with the Gardening by Design 'Box of Tricks'. My most popular talk and teaching topics are now available as video tutorials with explanations, photographs, examples and tea breaks to help you garden with confidence.

Alison photo

About GbD

Gardening by Design was started in 2004 by Alison Marsden to offer a new way to build knowledge of plants and gardening, gain confidence and make your garden into the family space or personal paradise you deserve.

Alison fills the gaps in your horticultural and garden design knowledge so you become a more confident gardener ready to make the most of your garden.  No long term commitment – just all the advice and assistance you need an hour at a time.  The ‘Box of Tricks’ is a collection of popular topics in video form. Each is structured with key information, examples, summaries and plenty of illustrations and most importantly delivered in bite-sized chunks so that you are never overwhelmed with information.

Based near Tunbridge Wells advice, classes and workshops are delivered across West Kent and into nearby areas of Surrey and Sussex.  Support and advice for gardeners further afield is provided through the wonders of technology with consultations by internet, phone and email.

Kent Wildlife Trust    Supporting Kent’s wildlife as a member of Kent Wildlife Trust

“Stop gardening by accident and start Gardening by Design”


What people think of Gardening by Design

Maintaining an established garden

Wow Alison – you have worked hard.  What a wonderful synopsis and suggestions.  I really appreciate your advice.  You offer a wonderful service and I am so glad I asked you to come along.

Planting suggestions for a small front garden

We found your visit very interesting and I am now fired up with the thoughts of a flower border, path and ‘woodland garden’. My frustration has now been replaced by enthusiasm and I look forward to sorting the garden out during the coming months. Thank you again for your report, it will be a good reminder of our discussions during your visit.

A farmhouse garden with countryside views
Thank you so much for a very thorough and detailed report – lots of reading material and a lot to digest but plenty of ideas for me to think about, especially through the winter months.

Colour scheming borders in Tonbridge
Wow thank you Alison. Very comprehensive notes and I thoroughly enjoyed our ‘walk and talk’ session.   The biggest thing I’ve taken away from our session is the confidence to move around what I already have in the garden.

Large, mature garden needing some renovation
We both enjoyed our tour round the garden with you.  Thank you very much for sending the notes and recommendations.  We look forward to reading, digesting and implementing your suggestions and will certainly come back to you with any further questions