Located in the heart of leafy Surrey, RHS Garden Wisley is one of the UK’s most frequented gardens and one of the horticultural charity’s premier green spaces. With a splendid array of flora and fauna spread across 240 acres, Wisley is home to some of the largest plant collections in the world.
As the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship garden, Wisley is committed to ‘Building a greener future’, and regularly embarks on improvement projects to enhance the visitor experience. The society is currently undergoing a £160 million redevelopment programme encompassing several major projects, including the UK’s first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence at Wisley, RHS Hilltop – The Home of Garden Science.
RHS Hilltop is surrounded by four acres of ‘living laboratories’ set in three new gardens, with the Wellbeing Garden designed by Matt Keightley of Rosebank Landscaping, and built by Mark Gregory of Landform Associates. The site is open to the public and will highlight educational opportunities and scientific work in the field of horticulture.
Lighting was a key element of the Hilltop project. It was vital that functional lighting was provided to ensure the safety of all staff and the 1.5 million annual visitors to RHS Garden Wisley.
Ben Brace (MCIHort CMLI), Greenspace Projects Manager at RHS, specified the lighting. Having a working knowledge of DW Windsor through previous roles, Ben approached the leading British manufacturer to supply the exterior lighting.
Ben specified DW Windsor’s Ren bollard to illuminate the surrounding pathways within the Wellbeing Garden. The luminaire’s narrow profile and discreet design made it the ideal choice to aid wayfinding without interrupting the look and flow of the garden space.
Ren is an award-winning architectural lighting solution offered in two widths, three heights and a range of colour temperatures from 2700 – 4000K. In addition, it utilises a unique optical system featuring reeded diffusing glass to improve lateral distribution whilst also delivering zero back spill. This makes Ren an incredibly versatile solution while still offering impressive lighting performance for outdoor environments, with the ability to achieve P5 lighting classes at a 6m spacing.
For the RHS Hilltop scheme, a colour temperature of 2700K was specified, helping to create an inviting ambience within the garden while minimising the impact on the surrounding flora and fauna.
Ben Brace said: “Embarking on the Hilltop project has been very exciting for the RHS. While the lighting was an important part of the development, we wanted to ensure the gardens looked as stunning as possible. Ren is the perfect solution to provide function with perfect form; blending in with the surroundings and not disrupting the appeal of the green space.”
Dean Johnston, Area Sales Manager at DW Windsor, added: “As experts in public realm projects, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our capabilities on a garden project. RHS Wisley is a stunning green space, and the aesthetics, form and function of our Ren bollard work in perfect harmony with the look of the new Hilltop gardens.”
RHS Hilltop is already proving popular with visitors and is set to inspire generations of gardeners for years to come.
Matt Keightley of Rosebank Landscaping
Mark Gregory of Landform Associates
Lucy McVeigh, Assistant Project Manager at RHS Garden Wisley
Matt Pottage, Curator of RHS Garden Wisley
Sheila Das, Garden Manager at RHS Garden Wisley
The Facilities team at RHS Garden Wisley