Helen designs individual gardens of beauty and elegance ranging from contemporary urban spaces to landscaped country homes.


I trained at The Garden Design School, one of the foremost providers of specialist training courses in garden design in the UK, in order to realize my ambition to run my own garden design business. I received my first commission whilst completing the course with distinctions in all my final projects.

After graduating from University my earlier career took me from Leeds to London and then finally working for the National Trust based at Polesden Lacey as a Human Resources Manager. It was here I was lucky enough to be able to explore many beautiful gardens and discover some of the most inspiring landscapes of the south of England.

Practising now for over 6 years my projects have ranged from small city gardens to extensive plots set deep in the Surrey Hills and abroad to France.

I work very closely with all my clients to create elegant and practical gardens to meet your needs and budget. I like to keep things simple and natural .I want you to feel that the garden is your space, somewhere a little bit special to enjoy and unwind.

Based in the Surrey Hills near Dorking, I am friendly, professional and can offer a flexible service according to your needs.

How I Work


Whether you know exactly what you are looking for or are struggling to come up with a vision, I will try and work out the best solutions for you.

At each point in the design process I will be very clear about design fees and give you guidance on construction costs and timescales.

The Brief 

First of all I like to meet with you to discuss what you are looking for and what is /is not working for you now. Then we will assess everything you already have in your garden and look at what we can keep and the things that could benefit from significant change.

The Survey

Following on from this I will draw up an accurate measured survey identifying all the elements, dimensions and levels of the garden.

The Garden Plan

Pulling together the brief and the survey I will then draw a scaled outline plan accompanied by 3Dsketches showing all the aspects of the redesign. Overlaying this on the survey will help you to visualize the spaces. All my drawings are completed by hand as this allows me to hone the design to the   unique qualities of every garden.

Planting Plan

Although we might have agreed earlier on the structural content of the garden I can also put together a planting plan detailing all the plants that will give the garden its special character.

The Construction

Once you have agreed on the garden design we can work on the details of the construction of the garden.  I can help you find a suitable landscaper to build the garden and provide construction drawings of all the built elements such as steps, walls, pergolas, ponds, patios etc. We can agree on materials and timeframes.

Project Management

Until the garden is built it will remain only a dream. Careful setting out is vital in order that the garden is built exactly as you want it and as has been planned. I will work closely with the landscaper at the beginning of the construction to help translate the paper drawings into real structures on site and thereafter check the progress regularly and deal with any issues arising.

Not all of the above might be required depending on the scale of the project and I can advise you accordingly. For some gardens, the whole process from initial call to completion can be a matter of months, for others much longer.

I have been working with several clients over a period of years as we have broken up the implementation of the overall plan into a series of smaller projects. Working with a master plan however ensures that every feature is integrated into the overall design.



For enquiries please contact Helen:

t. 01306 741081
m. 07771 962221
e. helen@helenthomasdesign.co.uk
Or use the form below to get in touch:

Hill Farm

Hill Farm was originally two humble cottages built for the farm workers. The house sits in the middle of a two-acre plot with views over the Surrey Hills. The surrounding land consisted of mostly meadows, a small orchard and some large mature trees but with no structure. After several years of work a garden has emerged, retaining all these features and the intrinsic nature of the site. By using trees, hedging and planting beds on the steeper slopes, distinct garden areas have been created, including a wildlife pond, which are all connected with natural pathways to complete a journey around the garden.

Garden Cottage

The Garden Cottage sits on a steeply graded plot with extensive views over the Pippbrook Valley to Ranmore .The original garden had a wonderful weathered feel to it with crumbling walls and well stocked beds. However the existing patio provided very awkward sitting areas, much of the views were obscured by built structures and the client wanted more colour in the garden throughout the whole year. With careful reshaping of the patio and using materials sympathetic to the original site we were able to create new inviting seating areas where now the church on the distant horizon can be seen on Ranmore. Working with the existing contours and framing these areas with soft planting, shrubs and bulbs to bring interest throughout the year, the views from the garden have been enhanced.

Brockham Lane

Box Hill

Lying at the foothills of Box Hill the existing level rectangular plot, whilst providing some space for a young family to run around in, lacked interest to stimulate young imaginations. The inherited patio was also in urgent need of attention. We created a wooden deck across the back of the house with a separate dining area and room for the children to play. The sweeping timber steps now lead you into the garden where a pergola walkway guides you towards a grassy mound. Winding brick paths were built around the garden on which the children can ride their bikes. A small wildflower meadow and orchard with cherry and fruit trees offers a secluded spot for the tree house and a silver birch glade was used to conceal the swings and slide area. The side of the workshop provides a save haven for habitat boxes and allows shelter for a small vegetable plot. As the family grow up all these spaces can work in different ways whilst still retaining the structure of the flowing lines.

The Barn

This stunning oak timbered barn conversion shares features with an existing dwelling of different character. It was important to bring harmony to the whole property. Where possible as many of the original materials were to be reused including, old millstones and soil taken from leveling some of the garden.

York stone lifted from redundant pathways were used in different ways to create a new terrace encircling the barn and allowing for a generous dining space and a smaller occasional sitting area. York stone steps leading to a series of circular platforms linked by a gravel garden provide the perfect link between the dwellings and the shared drive. Large rocks found on site were used to help retain the generous shrub border on the bank and rhododendrons and acers provide a suitable setting for a gently sloping access route along the side of the garden.