This Chelsea Flower Show garden design proves even the smallest yard can include a pool

Sanctuary garden 'Out of the Shadows' demonstrates how we're moving away from narrow conceptions of how our gardens should be

small swimming pool surrounded by tropical plants
(Image credit: Oleg Breslavtsev/Alamy Stock Photo)

A garden that will feature at RHS Chelsea this spring proves that a pool doesn't have to be reserved for large and luxurious backyards. Kate Gould is an award-winning garden designer and the brains behind a sanctuary garden set to be exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show 2022.

A lesson in post-pandemic garden design showing how our concept of the garden has changed since 2020, 'Out of the Shadows' demonstrates that even the smallest spaces are now being tasked to serve multiple functions, incorporating modern lifestyle needs.

'Out of the Shadows' digital render garden design for Chelsea Flower Show 2022 by Kate Gould

A digital rendering of how the 'Out of the Shadows' garden will look at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

(Image credit: Kate Gould)

The 'Out of the Shadows' garden

'Out of the Shadows', one of the RHS Chelsea 'Sanctuary Gardens', is small, modern, and multifunctional. Within dramatic, tropical-style planting you'll find a Jacuzzi swim spa, seating and relaxation areas, climbing bars, and a yoga and meditation space.

A swim spa is just like a small swimming pool, but includes a function that simulates a current, so Kate Gould's garden shows pool landscaping ideas can in fact work in small spaces. 'As we (hopefully) come out of the pandemic, people have certainly become more mindful about creating safe spaces they can hunker down in,' Kate comments. 

'They are thinking outside the box in terms of what they want their gardens to deliver when it comes to outdoor living, and they are often not sure how to achieve this within a traditional garden model,' she adds. 

'With "Out of the Shadows" I want to show people that if they want a swim spa, for example, or a space to do yoga, they don't need to choose between having that and a beautiful garden.'

render of Out of the Shadows garden design appearing at the Chelsea Flower Show 2022

The 'Out of the Shadows' garden design will include a space for yoga

(Image credit: Kate Gould)

Don't give up on those hot tub ideas yet, because Kate believes that it doesn't need to be an either/or choice. She says her garden design for the Chelsea Flower Show is as much about coming out of the shadow of the pandemic as it is about leaving behind narrow, traditional views of what a garden needs to be.

The pandemic made us appreciate the safe haven a garden can provide, and Kate is showing us how we can reimagine our gardens so that they tick as many boxes as possible. 'Have a swim spa, but make it chic,' she says.

hot tub in grey shelter

Hot tubs are a fabulous addition to backyards

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

We'd recommend thinking about three things your dream garden would include, and speaking to a garden designer to bring your ideas to life. A sunny reading spot surrounded by lavender, space for barbecues, and a heated pool would be on our list.

Millie Hurst
Millie Hurst

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.