About Us

We are an experienced, professional and widely respected garden design company run by Debbie Roberts BA (Hons) FSGD and Ian Smith BA (Hons) FSGD.  After training in Landscape Architecture we chose to concentrate on the more intimate discipline of Garden Design with its emphasis on close collaboration with individual clients.  We established Acres Wild in 1988 and are both full members of the Society of Garden Designers. We became a registered practice in 2017 and were both made Fellows in 2022 in recognition of making an exceptional contribution to the SGD and the garden design profession. In Nov 2023 we were featured on BBC TV Gardeners World (slide to 6:40)


Our design philosophy is to respond sensitively to our clients’ needs and carefully integrate their house into the garden and the garden into its surroundings, with plants and materials appropriate to the character and location of each particular site.  This philosophy permeates all our work, whether in town or country, at home or abroad.

An Acres Wild design consists of a bold underlying structure softened with full and naturalistic planting to reflect the tastes, requirements and aspirations of our clients, their homes, and the wider landscape setting.

Over the years we have gained experience with a wide range of garden situations and many diverse clients.  Being located in south-east England allows us the opportunity to design gardens set anywhere from the heart of London to the coast, from downland to woodland, on free-draining chalky and acidic soils to heavy wealden clay.  Whilst much of our work is carried out in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent, we also work nationally throughout the UK and the Channel Islands.  Recent international projects include gardens in France, Spain and California.

Our Aim

Our aim is to create unique and timeless gardens with enduring appeal and a harmonious sense of place.

“…Roberts and Smith seem adept at composing a series of interlocking spaces with linking water features, while considering the more philosophical elements of the relationship between a house and garden and the wider countryside…” Penelope Hobhouse, Gardens Illustrated.

“…Debbie Roberts and Ian Smith have been making the design of fluid, unpretentious spaces look easy since they left university… but beneath each relaxed scheme lies a subtle but strong framework of serious structural geometry, carefully composed in such a way that it doesn’t scream ‘design’ ” Emma Reuss, Garden Design Journal.

“…these two have created some of the most successful contemporary country gardens in England…” Sally Court, The Modern Garden Makers.