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Garden in a Day

Never mind tinkering with borders or choosing a shrub on impulse at the garden centre, it feels very much like homeowners these days are buying into proper garden design. We all know it adds value to a house (yay!), but it’s also a creative, transformational process that can have a massive positive impact on how we live.

One of the most accomplished garden design companies, with a string of high profile clients, happens to be on our patch. Nicholsons in North Aston, North Oxon (think 25 mins from Chippy Norton/15 from Banbury), should definitely be on your must-visit list if you’re interested in seriously pimping your garden.

Nicholsons is a massive success story – having started as a family run garden centre back in 1979 it’s now a bonafide garden empire, a specialist in trees, shrubs and topiary across 23 chichi acres in a pretty Cotswold stone village. You can head under canvas for lunch or coffee at the excellent yurt café Or check out blooming marvelous Muddy Awards’ florist finalist Floriology. Oh, and pick up some interiors bits from outdoor living store Rosara (we’re big fans of the hammocks and poufs).

Nicholsons gardens paths shrubs


The staff are super-friendly and well-qualified – seriously, it’s like landing in the Waitrose of gardening. But most importantly the spaces they create are beautiful. The team of in-house creatives and landscapers regularly collaborate with the biggest names in the world of garden design including the world-acclaimed Fernando Caruncho so you really are working with the best in the biz.

Nicholson’s is big on making your garden blend seamlessly with the wider landscape and seem equally adept at creating spaces that complement historical buildings and bringing to life modernist projects like this beautiful space at Wormsley.


Nicholsons gardens lake sculptures

Home of Garsington Opera at Wormsley

I could blather on forever but I think these glorious pictures speak for themselves. The Muddy patch could certainly do with a magical makeover by those green fingers.

One word of warning. The level of expertise and scale of the projects Nicholsons undertake means you’re looking at a £10k starting point, but when you think that a new room extension on a house would be £35k+ it puts what sounds like a large bill into context. Plus they’ll do the whole thing – construction from scratch if necessary, ground work, garden design, landscaping, planting. And if you have any cash left over and want to enjoy the fruits of their labour with a large G&T, they’ll also do the mowing and maintenance.


If you’re interest is piqued but you’re not in the mood to commit – serious research is required for a big garden makeover –  head to the Nicholson’s Garden In A Day event on Sat 23 June from 10am – 12.30 where they’ll help you explore ways to make the most of your garden space, from screen and hedging through to dining, border inspiration and overall garden design. There’s also Prosecco and jazz on offer to, shall we say, lubricate the day!

As ever, if you manage to make it to Nicholsons or the Garden In A Day, let me know what you think. I reckon you’ll be blown away.



Nicholsons, The Park, North Aston, Bicester, OX25 6HL. Tel:01869 340350.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon