"The soft furnishings of nature should not be used to obscure spatial relationships but to enhance them. "

Eric Lyons

The gardens of Highsett are highly appreciated by the residents and provide a peaceful and beautiful oasis in the centre of a bustling city. The courtyard garden was designed and laid out in 1961 by a noted landscape designer of the time, Ivor Cunningham, who worked on many Span developments.


The layout was intended not only to resemble a college courtyard, but also to reflect the design of the building. The Grade II English Heritage listing entry specifically mentions the relationship between the garden and the building.


Over the years the care of the gardens fell behind so in 2012, with the expert aide of Dr Barbara Simms, the original planting plan was used as a basis to draw up a new design and return it to its former glory. Today, overseen by a local horticulturist the plants are maturing and providing the swathes of colour, coherence and previously envisaged form.


Barbara Simms is a garden and landscape historian. She contributed to and edited the 'Eric Lyons and Span' book published by RIBA.











"The whole approach is through landscape. The landscape, the design of houses within an environment, is the starting point of the design from Lyons's point of view."


R.Furneaux Jordan Architectural critic






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