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.


Gardening is officially good for mental as well as physical wellbeing, whatever your experience and whatever your age.  From an individual making their garden into a place to escape hustle and bustle to an organised garden therapy group for a care home, hospice or mental health support charity. I can help, advise and teach.

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.

“Stop gardening by accident and start Gardening by Design”

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

A Dementia Friend through the Alzheimer’s Society 

What people think of Gardening by Design

Enhancing 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.

Colour scheming borders
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.

Talks & Teaching

Thank you for the very interesting talk on ‘What Will Grow In My Garden?’. It was much enjoyed and appreciated by all. We look forward to your next visit.

It was so useful to build confidence before embarking on my new allotment and I now feel well informed and ready to start.

Knowledgeable tutor, information given in an easy to understand manner to a novice

The Box of Tricks

Easy to understand. Really enjoyable.

Helpful to a beginner gardener.