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About Us

Kristina Clode Garden Design is a creative partnership between garden designer Kristina Clode MSGD and landscape consultant Sam Avard. We combine Kristina’s creative flair and Sam’s practical experience and technical understanding to design and consult on exceptional gardens and landscapes. Both Sam and Kristina are committed to a focus on sustainable, regenerative, wildlife friendly design. We believe a beautiful garden is not only enchanting and inspiring but also brimming with life.


Our approach is a simple one. First we like to find out a little bit about you and what you are looking for, as well as your estimated budget, expectations and ideas. Then we come to visit your garden - always our favourite part of the job! We imagine it is like an artist looking at a blank canvas. A million different things occur to us as we look around: We assess the surroundings, the relation of the garden to the house and the layout of the scheme. We think about the plants, the view, your requirements as well as the best use of space and movement round the garden. Then, after some discussion, we evolve these ideas into a coherent plan to create an oasis of beauty and inspiration. All of this is viewed through the lens of sustainable and regenerative design and construction practices.

About Kristina Clode

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As a garden designer in East Sussex, Kristina has been fortunate to work on a variety of projects in the past few years from city courtyards to large family gardens, tricky sloping sites and even two sensory gardens for schools. Each one brought its own unique challenges but with her creative vision and lots of hard work, her clients have been thrilled with the results. With 22 years of experience in horticulture and design, an in-depth knowledge of contemporary and historic gardens as well as a heartfelt love of plants and nature, Kristina aims to design the garden that’s perfect for you. Kristina volunteered with the gardening team at Great Dixter for several years up until the pandemic, which provided her with a wealth of inspiration and kept her at the forefront of horticultural practice and planting innovation, all of which she can bring to your garden. 

This fresh and creative approach is precisely that which Kristina took with her own garden '4 Waterworks Cottages'. Originally the garden was just a blank sloping lawn from front to back with random overgrown trees and shrubs. Over the next 8 years she developed it into a front, side and rear garden with terracing, new paths and sections to create a coherent design, enticing the visitor round the garden in a voyage of discovery Full of exuberant planting, many of her favourites and some new trial specimens, The garden serves as a constant source of inspiration and Kristina continues to develop it as it evolves over time.
Gardens never stand still! If you’re interested in coming to see Kristina’s garden, it is now open annually for the National Garden Scheme.

Design has always been an essential part of Kristina’s working life and prior to horticulture she applied her talents to the fashion world. However, it was through gardening her small plot in London that Kristina quickly came to realise the natural world was the only one she longed to be part of. Spending time outdoors, planning her garden and watching it develop and grow fulfilled Kristina completely. So she switched careers.

After gaining a distinction in a Horticulture, Garden Design & Construction BTEC, Kristina worked as a planting designer and gardener at a London company and studied for an MA in Garden History before moving to East Sussex in 2007. Here she worked for Bodiam Nursery before starting a family.

Finally, with her talents and passion combined, Kristina was ready to launch her own business and in 2010 Kristina Clode Garden Design was born. Kristina is a fully registered member of the Society of Garden Designers, having passed their rigorous adjudication process.


Hear more about Kristina's horticultural career and ethos in this Plant Network Podcast  42. Castle to Garden Design Via Fashion, An Interview with Kristina Clode.


Computer Aided Design for Garden Designers (Vectorworks), Courses 1-3 - Plumpton College 2015-2016

MA Garden History (Distinction) - Birkbeck University 2005-2007

BTEC National Certificate in Horticulture

Garden Design & Construction (Distinction)

 Capel Manor College 2001-2002.

Awarded 'Best Student' of the course 2001-2002.

BSc(Hons) Clothing Engineering & Management (2:1)

University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology 1992-1996.

Garden History Papers Published

‘The Gardens of Witanhurst, Highgate, London’ in The London Gardener- Journal of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust, vol.: 20, edited by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan (London: 2016), pp.19-41.

‘The Life of Étienne Dupérac, Franco-Italian Renaissance Man’ in Fantasy, Form & Function – Postgraduate Research Papers in Garden History, edited by Barbara Simms (London: 2010), pp.43-52

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About Sam Avard

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Sam grew up in rural Sussex, with life centred around a small farm and the surrounding woods, fields and streams. This early exposure to some of the cycles and rhythms of the plants, animals and landscape kindled a lifelong affinity for all things natural. After finishing school (and a formative gap year spent digging in the local clay) Sam went off to study at the University of Sussex, gaining a BA in Philosophy and English Literature; the study of knowledge and ideas in philosophy and the exploration of the human experience in literature marking a chapter in his pursuit of lifelong learning and curiosity.

After graduation, Sam and his (soon to be) wife, Anya, moved to California in search of new opportunities in the sunshine. Initially, he spent some time volunteering at a nearby botanical garden. Situated on a rocky hillside and full of strange and wonderful California native species and other drought tolerant plants, it felt a long way from home. Sam started out as a labourer for a small construction firm, cutting his teeth on ambitious outdoor projects both large and small (and undertaking a crash course in Spanish along the way). He progressed to working as a designer and project manager, eventually partnering up with his former employer to found a successful swimming pool and landscape construction business.

Having found some success in California, but longing for somewhere more green and pleasant, Sam and his wife Anya moved back to Sussex to establish a more balanced and connected life for their young family. On returning home, Sam established a landscape construction business of his own. Focussing on high quality craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail, he has drawn on his years of experience to build beautiful gardens for a long list of happy clients. This work has included a number of projects designed by Kristina, including the multi award winning Wildlife Friendly Coastal Garden.

Around the same time as the move back to Sussex, Sam started on the journey of the study of a Masters in Engineering with a focus on renewable energy and sustainability, which he is due to complete in 2025. This learning has helped to bridge the distance between his love of building and making, his academic skills, and his passion for the natural world and our place in it. Sam is also a student member of a number of different engineering institutes, making use of their valuable learning opportunities.

After successfully working together where possible over a number of years, Sam has joined forces with Kristina as co-director to further build her thriving design practice. Sam’s focus in the business is on the ‘how?’  and the 'why?' of the design and construction process. Sam draws on his technical knowledge, passions, values and practical experience to help create beautiful, sustainable and regenerative spaces.


Diploma of Higher Education, Engineering 

The Open University 2017 – 2021

BA (Hons), Philosophy and English Literature

University of Sussex 2005 – 2008

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KCGD Awards

Landscape & Garden Award, Sussex Heritage Trust 2023 for Wildlife Friendly Coastal Garden. 

Design for the Environment Award, Society of Garden Designers Awards 2022, for Wildlife Friendly Coastal Garden.

Landscape & Garden Award, Sussex Heritage Trust 2022 for Sedlescombe School Garden.

Judges Award & Design for the Environment Award, Society of Garden Designers Awards 2021, for Sedlescombe School Garden

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