Today is National Meadows Day, but why are wildflower meadows important?

National Meadows Day

Today is National Meadows Day, but why are wildflower meadows important?

National Meadows Day is an annual day that celebrates wildflower meadows in the UK.  Sadly, our meadows have been reducing in numbers for some years, with only 2% of meadows in the UK that existed in the 1930s remaining.


Why are meadows important?

Meadows play a significant role in nature and offer many environmental benefits, such as carbon storage, water retention and flood prevention.  As well as making for a good habitat for crop pollinators, they also provide support for a huge range of species and wildlife.

Species supported by meadows include: fungi, wildlflowers, bees, beetles, spiders, moths, butterflies (papillons), reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bats and birds.  Many of these are priority species that have been identified as being the most threatened and require conservation action under the UK Boidiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).


Fyvie, Aberdeenshire

Featured below is a meadow that Papillon installed in Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, last year.  Within 12 months, it has grown to waste height and looking fantastic.  It blends in nicely with the surrounding countryside and is doing its bit to help nature!

Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project aiming to transform the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife.  Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project is helping to increase the number of wildflower meadows and grasslands in the UK and giving people the chance to learn about wildflower meadows and grasslands, visit them and enjoy them.  For more information visit:


Designing a garden with a meadow

From a design perspective, wildflower meadows can be a great use of unused space.  As well as the environmental benefits, they are pleasing on the eye and easy to manage.  Not only are they suitable for large spaces, but they can also be scaled down and used in smaller gardens too, where wildflower patches can be turned into features and cordoned off with stylish panels.

For families with small children, the kids can get involved and play an active role in planting them and managing them.  Maintaining a wildflower meadow is a straight forward process.  They will need a little attention to help with their development and cut back on overpowering grasses, but, on the whole, they are easy to look after.

For more information on installing a meadow, please contact Papillon directly.



Top tips for growing plants around trees

Top tips for growing plants around trees

Planting around trees can be tricky in a garden.  There are many considerations to make, such as the age of the tree, the type and its aspect in your garden.  We have a few tips that will help your green friends survive under and around thirsty trees:


Raised beds

A trick Papillon uses in areas where there are trees is to raise the soil level up 300mm+.  This gives you virgin soil to use, which is outside of the tree’s root system. It’s important not to bury the trunk of the tree with soil, so consider using a partition round the trunk to prevent this. Over time, the roots of the tree can work their way into the raised bed but by that time your plants should be established. Raising the soil level up will also bring plants out of harm’s way from soil toxins.


Using a mulch & compost 

You should always plant with lots of compost and a high phosphorus feed when planting under trees! Without this, new plants under established trees will struggle. This will give extra help to the plant in an already difficult situation. A thick (25mm-40mm) mulch of bark, compost, manure or bark will reduce water loss, weed competition and add fertility to a new planted area too.


Automatic watering

Under large established conifer trees, such as pines or leylandii, you’ll need to water new planting up to 10x more than in a normal new planting conditions. You can set up irrigation to come on automatically every day of the growing season (April-November) for the first couple of years of establishment to make sure your plants are getting the water they need.


Choose the right plants

Plants that you choose must be suitable for each situation; there are plants that are drought tolerant and good for partly or fully shaded areas and others that are more suitable for full sunlight. We’ve put together a list of plants to use in different conditions, which will follow in our next blog, Can you plant shrubs and flowers under trees?.


For more information on garden design and garden styling please contact us directly.

APL Bronze Award 2019 Papillon Designs & Landscaping


Ballater garden recognised at national APL Awards in London

Summer house in Ballater garden | Papillon Designs & Landscaping

Ballater garden recognised at national APL Awards in London

A garden in Ballater, designed by Papillon, has been recognised in this year’s APL (Association of Professional Landscapers) Awards, in the category Overall Design & Build. Garden Designer, Angelique Robb of Papillon Designs & Landscaping, was awarded a Bronze prize for her work on the garden, which was redesigned and rebuilt following the town’s bad floods in 2016.

Recognition came in light of Papillon’s efforts to design a garden, that not only is visually appealing, but also one that is weatherproof.  This was by building a rain garden and adding soil retention in vulnerable areas.  A unique larch-cladded artist’s studio was also built using stilts to allow rainwater to flow beneath it and drain away.  The garden blends into its surrounding environment easily with the use of local natural stone and native plants.


Rain Garden Solution

Angelique comments: “Technically, this garden took quite a bit of thought to design.  With an adjacent nature reserve and a slope running towards the property, we had to come up with a solution to drain and absorb rainwater.  Building a rain garden was the best solution, but adding a studio was always going to be tricky, as it could potentially block the natural flow of water and encourage flooding.  So, after researching a few different options, we came up with the idea of building the studio on stilts and we’re pleased to say that it works perfectly! We feel very proud to be recognised by The APL in these prestigious awards.”

The garden was designed and constructed by Aberdeen-based Papillon and is one of 32 projects the firm completed in 2017-2018.  Papillon is an award-winning garden design company that specialises in designing and constructing gardens throughout the North-east of Scotland.  This is the second year running that the firm has been awarded a prize at the APL Awards.



The APL Award were held on 15th March 2019 at The Brewery, London.  The awards, which are UK-wide, help celebrate and recognise outstanding landscaping work carried out by the association’s members.  To find out more about The APL visit

For more information on garden design, please contact us directly.

APL Bronze Award 2019 Papillon Designs & Landscaping


Rain garden in Ballater | Papillon Designs & Landscaping

New town garden offers low maintenance with a contemporary look

New town garden offers low maintenance with a contemporary look

Papillon has recently completed a town garden design & construction project in Garthdee, Aberdeen.

The design was built to fit with the lifestyle of the owner, giving them a garden to relax in, without the burden of a high maintenance space.  The steeply sloped garden was transformed into a relaxing open space to include planting beds, retaining walls, stone paving and a patio.


Garden design for Garthdee project
Decking area in Garthdee project - Papillon Garden Designs
Stone globes in town garden- Papillon Designs & Landscaping

To add to the contemporary style, a stone globe water feature was positioned as a focal point next to the main patio.  To complete the look, black decorative screens were added to create interest and screen the main patio area. On sunny days, the sun can be enjoyed on the composite Millboard decking that has deliberately been positioned to maximise sunlight.


Garden features:

  • Retaining walls with contemporary bricks
  • Natural sandstone paving area & steps
  • Composite Millboard Decking area
  • Composite Decorative screens
  • Stone water feature with light built-in
  • Planting to soften the hard landscaping

Before pictures...

Before pic - Garthdee garden project, Aberdeen
Before Garthdee, Aberdeen

For more information on garden design and landscaping, please contact Papillon directly.