Episode 65: James Basson of Scape Design

This week I’m speaking to James Basson of Scape Design. James runs his design practice along with wife Helen out of the south of France and their work is synonymous with a naturalistic style, the use of native plants and often, the implementation of matrix or grid planting to populate large areas of landscape. It was this part of James’s practice that initially sparked my interest and we get round to talking about that towards the end of the interview, but first we cover the type of work undertaken by Scape Design and the gardens James designs for some of the most demanding environments.

About James Basson:

James specialises in dry, sustainable gardens that are inspired by his passion for the natural landscape and is known for using natural materials and local artisans. He has won numerous awards at Garden Shows throughout the world with Gold Medals at the Gardening World Cup in Japan, the Singapore Garden Festival, the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Chelsea Flower Show, where he won best in show in 2017.
He has published papers on a generative approach to Garden Design, and is currently developing a database around matrix form planting design, to help designers and gardeners create ecological planting schemes.

What We Discuss:

The work of Scape Design
The design principles that underpin James’s work and how he separates the cultivated from the uncultivated

The importance of building in resilience to the gardens James designs, both in the hard landscaping and planting

Problems with invasive plants in naturalistic plantings

James’s matrix form of planting and this works from an ecological point of view

His work to develop a database of plants that work together from an ecological point of view



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