Matthew Childs

Meet the designer of The Terrence Higgins Trust Bridge to 2030 Garden in the Show category at RHS Chelsea 2024

Matthew Childs

Matthew Childs

Matthew is an award winning British garden designer who decided to make his passion for plants and gardens his career in 2009.  Since setting up his practice in the UK, Matthew Childs Design, he has designed a diverse range of exciting landscapes. Matthew’s approach to garden design is to tailor gardens to each client and produce outdoor spaces which have a strong narrative and are a reflection of the people who use them and the surroundings in which they sit.  Matthew’s design style is contemporary, with bold hard landscaping balanced by a tapestry of rich and full planting.

See the Terrence Higgins Trust Bridge to 2030
His conceptual garden at the 2012 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, Light at the End of the Tunnel received an RHS Gold medal and Best in Category award and has defined Matthew’s approach to design ever since. The garden told Matthew’s story of recovery from being injured in the London bombings of 2005, but it also became a vehicle for empathy, allowing people to relate it to their own experiences of recovery in life. It showed the power of gardens to touch emotions and Matthew strives to do this in all of his work.
Light at the End of the Tunnel was followed by a second RHS Gold medal and the Best in Category award for a garden highlighting the global challenge of plastic pollution in our oceans in 2013 for Ecover.  In 2014 Matthew’s first RHS Main Avenue RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden for Brewin Dolphin attained a Silver-gilt medal. In 2016 Matthew built show gardens in Istanbul and Moscow, the latter of which was awarded the coveted Grand Prix. In 2017 Matthew created an installation on the steps of The Russian State Library in Moscow and in 2018 transformed 750 metres of a central Moscow boulevard into a play installation.

Matthew is a member of the Society of Garden designers and attained the Best Medium Residential Garden and Landscape Award and Judges Award in 2022 for his Heathside project.  In 2023 House and Garden Magazine listed Matthew Childs Design as one of the Top 50 garden designers in the UK.

Matthew says: “I have always been drawn to plants and gardens and my first visit to RHS Chelsea in 2007 was the eureka moment when I realised I had to change career and become a garden designer. I try not to conform to a garden style. I make gardens for people. I want them to have an emotional connection with their garden so that they will spend time in it and it will enrich their lives. To do this, I make sure the garden has a strong narrative and is a reflection of the people who will use it and the surroundings in which it sits. 

“The idea for this garden has been 10 years in the making since my first garden at RHS Chelsea in 2014. As a gay man, having been in a happy relationship with my husband for 23 years, HIV has touched and impacted our community greatly, and since my teenage years I have been conscious of the stigma associated with the virus. The recent response to Covid, in which people came together to overcome the challenges presented by a new deadly pandemic, highlighted to me what was possible and reawakened my desire to help enable a platform for a national HIV charity at the world’s greatest flower show. With their 2030 vision of a future with no new cases of HIV, where people living with HIV are supported and there is good sexual health for all, The Terrence Higgins Trust were the perfect charity to team up with. Together we have worked hard to gain sponsorship from Project Giving Back. I am so excited to finally make the garden a reality at the 2024 show and help put a stop to the spread of HIV.”

RHS Chelsea 

Brewin Dolphin Garden in 2014 – Silver-gilt

RHS Hampton Court

Light at the End of the Tunnel in 2012 – Gold, Best in Category.
The Ecover Garden in 2013 – Gold, Best in Category.
B&Q Bursting Bizzy Lizzy Garden in 2018 – Gold, Best in Category, Best Construction.
The Smart Meter Garden in 2019 – Gold & Best in Category.
Over The Wall Garden in 2022 – Gold & Best in Category, Best Construction.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.