The arrival of Carrie Preston marked the entry of a brand new voice into the gardening world – one that, after the many years she’s been active as a designer, is still fresh. TOOP gardens combine the look and feel of modern design with abundant planting and attention to biodiversity and ecology. Her gardens are joyful. They celebrate plants but also people. There is ample place to sit, to lie down, hang out, eat, play and more. The feeling of pleasure is apparent everywhere.
Many garden designers base their work on their own signature style and seek to raise their profile in this way. In my view, Carrie has the ability to set this ‘style ego’ aside and come up with an appropriate design for an outdoor space purely from the perspective of the people who will be using it, with her unique, confident style working its way into the design organically. It’s probably this approach that is exactly what has made her so successful, with virtually all her customers giving her the very highest praise a designer can get: that they’ve never before felt so ‘at home’ in their garden.
If I wanted a new garden and was at a loss as to how to bring it about, I’d enlist Carrie’s help. Over the past few years, we’ve published a lot of the gardens designed by Carrie – all contemporary gardens full of life, with a lovely atmosphere, a relaxed planting scheme and often surprising elements. For example, never before had I seen a shed with a children’s playhouse on top of a roof – and the only way to get to it is by climbing a colorful wall. Or another inspired idea – a beach garden smack dab in the middle of a modern suburban development. Carrie is always incredibly creative!