The restoration and redesign of Dulwich College’s Historic Front Gardens


PRINCIPAL DESIGNER          | Reynolds Design

Horticultural Consultant     | Nigel Dunnett

Main Contractor                 | Bowles & Wyer

Lighting Design                    | Moonlight Design

Dulwich College‘s historic Front Gardens were restored and redesigned in celebration of  the school’s 400th anniversary.  The vision was to overlay a contemporary designed landscape onto the heritage site, enhancing the living environment for future generations.

Key elements included the reconfiguration of all the paths and hardscaping to link the landscape more closely with the Grade II* listed New College, the incorporation of landscape lighting into the iconic ‘Dulwich Bollard’ and new lighting for the building facade.  The planting scheme, led by Professor Nigel Dunnett, reflects current thinking on sustainable landscape planting, providing benefits for wildlife and biodiversity and cutting the need for intensive maintenance or irrigation.  Beds close to the buildings echo the original victorian scheme whilst also introduce resilient planting to the landscape and a naturalistic bulb and perennial meadow has been incorporated into the school lawns.  To increase the green infrastructure of the locality and help mitigate the particulate pollution from surrounding roads, a native hedge has been planted around the boundary.

A Future Veterans tree planting strategy was also implemented to prepare the school landscape for the predicted climate future and to enhance the heritage landscape of the campus.  The planting of 100 large specimen trees will ensure the school grounds will be as shaded by healthy, mature trees tomorrow as they are today.  The trees will begin to reach maturity in time for the schools 500th Anniversary in 2119 and will become the Veteran Trees in the school’s landscape in the centuries thereafter.