Secret Spaces garden design offers the best of both worlds – cutting edge luxury design, with good old-fashioned values, workmanship and customer service. We interviewed founder Dan Piddlesden-Whalley to find out more.

Q. How did you get into garden design?

A. I’ve always loved gardening, having had my first paid job at 8 years old with a family friend. But the penny really dropped several years ago when I was presented with a national award at the House of Commons for a garden project I managed in my role as Estates Manager. I became so engaged in the benefits of gardens on people’s lives and wondered if perhaps I had become quite good at it? I made the leap to self-employment soon after, trained formally as a garden designer and the rest is history.

Q. What’s your secret to success?

A. There are loads of brilliant designers out there. For me it’s about designing spaces that people are genuinely excited to spend time in, that involves working together to identify their unique vision and then creating something really beautiful for them. I’ve found my particular niche designing by hand and in watercolour. For me this feels more intimate than computer aided design, which I trained in but have since discarded. My clients seem to like this personal touch and to know that their design is totally unique to them.

I didn’t fully realise it in the early days, but my prior experience of landscaping has also been critical for producing creative yet realistic designs which landscapers are happy to use.

Ultimately though, I love making people happy, and that’s what drives me to work hard at getting it just right for every client.

Q. What does your design service include?

A. I start with an initial meeting to find out what clients want from their outdoor space, the style, feel and budget. Sometimes people are very clear from the start, others are unsure and the process really helps them to think this through.

I produce three different concept designs – at this point there is usually a fair bit of excitement. Clients take time to consider all the options before agreeing any amendments and settling on the final design which I provide in watercolour, alongside a landscaper pack which contains essential detail to support accurate quotations and builds.

I can also obtain quotes from reputable landscapers and complete design check-ins throughout the build, to provide that end-to-end service if required.

Get a free, no obligation design quote Call Dan on 07774 545018 or email

“Dan is just what you need in your life. We were at a loss with our garden design, but he provided inspiration and a vision that completely matched our brief. The design consultations are really enjoyable where he is there to help advise and share ideas. The drawings are brilliant. A really professional service with customer focus at the core. Would highly recommend him.” Chari & Andy, East Sussex.