Q&A with Joe Taylor


What do Octagon think is the role of green space in new developments? This could be both individual spaces, communal gardens/parkland or public realm.

Green space is absolutely vital in new developments, whether in one of our individual homes or larger developments and schemes, it plays a different role every time. Some require opulence and grandeur, while others want something a little more understated.

I believe the landscaping is just as important as the homes themselves, and at Octagon, we like to take a ‘less is more’ approach. We are renowned making the most of our garden spaces and generous landscaping – it’s about the quality of build rather than quantity, and this definitely filters through to the green space design.


Do you think green space adds value and why?

Green space definitely adds value, it creates a serene vista for any development . We are renowned for making super luxury new homes, so work very hard to finish them off perfectly. Every Octagon home comes with a fully landscaped and planted garden, this is a principle the company have always adhered to since it started building over three decades ago.  


What are your guiding principles in shaping green space (e.g. remaining true to the site, ensuring a variety of landscapes and uses etc)?

The main aim is always to create a private amenity space for our clients, somewhere tranquil and secluded. This can be more challenging with our London-based schemes, because there’s less space to work with, so we have to get more creative. We often work closely with the residents of the neighbouring homes to ensure their privacy is maintained as well – sometimes offering to plant mature trees or hedging on their land too! Recently we completed a scheme around a magnificent 500 year old Oak tree – with help from neighbours and the local authorities, we were able to move the house boundaries slightly to ensure the safety and protection of the tree, whilst also building the new home. It resulted in something wholly beneficial to everyone! 


What are your favourite landscaping and rooftop trends?

We’ve had a lot of requests for what I like to call ‘fusion’ gardens in the past year – a very formal layout, juxtaposed with informal planting. The structure is very rigid, with smart paving and paths, while the bedding plants have a more country cottage feel to them – the result is something really different, and when we’ve shown new clients images of the work we’ve previously done, a lot now want to go down this route with their own gardens.




What does Octagon look for in landscape architects and garden designers and how do they select them? 

Landscaping is one of the very first things that is formulated, as it needs to be submitted along with the planning application. We use Creepers for a lot of our schemes. They are a multi-award winning landscape architect,  and  we have worked with their team for over 20 years. As a very trusted supplier , they understand the Octagon ethos for perfection at every level , and we work together incredibly well. Their designers study our house plans to create the individual gardens and communal grounds.

Being a luxury developer, we want to work with people who appreciate our clients’ needs and expectations. However  if there is any brilliant talent out there we have yet to discover, we are always happy to consider new people with fresh ideas and solutions. 


Can you give me details of recent developments where they made interesting use of green space/public realm?  I’d need a good idea of the vision behind the scheme, the choice of planting etc. 

A recent Bespoke client specifically requested a garden with a Spanish feel, which was a great project to work on. He worked closely with us to create a fantastic home for his parents to live in, and wanted something truly special yet accessible for them to enjoy outdoors too.

It was a large wraparound south west facing garden, and the design was done by Creepers. We put in some fantastic olive and fruit trees, and implemented a koi carp pond just outside the kitchen doors. A large patio area had two seating areas to relax in – one with a fire pit for evening entertainment – with a path winding up to a bespoke built summer house with gardener’s loo at the back of the garden. We have had feedback that his father loves to sit there and look out over the lawn and his new home!


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