Unlock your planting potential with Soto Gardens

3rd May 2024

Garden Trading x SOTO banner imageSoto Gardens' award winning Garden Designer, Will Williams at work

What better way to celebrate the days getting a little longer, than with a great giveaway that’s set to enhance someone’s outdoor space? Thanks to a partnership with Soto Gardens, you could soon be enjoying a host of garden-enhancing goodies. This week we sat down for a chat with our favourite curators of stylish garden looks delivered to your door. We got the lowdown on all things Soto Gardens - plus some fabulous planting advice - from their award winning Garden Designer, Will Williams…

Will, what initially drew you to the world of garden design?

After leaving school I worked with a landscape gardener where I learnt huge amounts about the construction side of projects. I loved seeing the various gardens I worked on come together. It was hard work but proved a great foundation to set me up for the future, as it really spurred my interest in gardens.

It was my first visit to The Chelsea Flower show that developed my interest in garden design. The gardens with all their colours, textures and materials really inspired me and helped me to realise what can be created in an exterior space.

Wanting to learn more about the subject, I studied horticulture and later enrolled at the London College of Garden Design. Here, I combined what I’d learnt about construction and plants and began to think and visualise as a designer: solving problems, meeting people’s needs and expressing myself creatively within designs.

After graduating, I went on build my own design studio based in London, undertaking garden projects throughout the UK and overseas. I have received several awards for our gardens, including: six RHS awards, two RHS Gold medals, the RHS young designer of the year and the industry’s renowned 30 under 30. Last year I was honoured to win five stars at RHS Chelsea Flower show.

Desiring a fresh challenge, Laura, Jamie and I founded Soto Gardens. At the core of what we do is democratising garden design and making it easier for anyone to create a beautiful outside space.The Soto pre-designed borders contain plants from award winning nurseries and come complete with plans, so it is easy to achieve the show garden aesthetic. This is all for the same price as you’ll find at garden centres, which we are really proud of. I have designed six collections, with versions for shade, sun and part shade external spaces. Each collection has a different feel and style. We also offer lots of guidance and styling advice and sell the individual components if people just want to add a certain feature to their space. 

Garden Design by Soto Gardens featuring outdoor kitchen and dining area plus stocked borders

Could you tell us about the origins of Soto Gardens as a brand, and walk us through how your services cater to clients' needs?

Soto inspires and delivers an edit of plants, pots and accessories and delivers them to your door, whilst offering gardening guidance. We aim to remove the overwhelm people can experience when creating a garden. Soto started for those who want their outside space to be as stylish as their home's interior, providing a curated selection of plants and accessories at garden centre prices. Over time we’ve evolved and now offer indoor plants, plus host guests such as FLOWERBX and The Big Green Egg.

Laura had the initial idea after her and Jamie finished their house renovation. They didn’t have the budget for a garden designer and felt overwhelmed visiting a garden centre. With two small children, they had neither the time to research plants or the design knowledge to bring their Instagram/Pinterest garden vision to life. They then approached me, as they had been following my social media accounts for a while. Together, we created Soto Gardens!

For Soto Gardens to deliver your plants, all you need to know is if your chosen place for plants is sunny, in the shade, or a mix of the two. You also need the measurements of your border, and an idea of which collection best suits your style. After you have selected the appropriate product for your garden space, Soto Gardens delivers your plants with a planting plan (it is like planting by numbers), in 3-7 working days.

How do your core values shape the way you approach garden design and client relationships?

We really pride ourselves on putting customer service at the heart of what we do. We really believe in treating others how we’d like to be treated. The three of us are really focused on providing a positive experience and helping our customers. We hope to build a community at Soto Gardens and love to see how gardens develop and evolve. As we grow our team, keeping service and customer experience at our heart is very important.

The premise of Soto Gardens is making beautiful gardens easy. Our delivery service means that our customers don’t have to get their car dirty – in fact, they don’t even have to own one! The guidance provided on our site means there is no need to research how to look after your plants. We show you how and where to plant your border, with easy-to-follow planting plans. There is no need to worry if plants sit well together or if they are suitable for your garden or soil. This all builds into the community we have established. Whether that is via our Instagram Q&A, Masterclass Series in our journal or simply the detailed advice that accompanies our pre-designed borders, we hope to make the whole process simple.

People expect quality from Soto Gardens and that is what we always strive to deliver. We source our plants from award winning nurseries, the same places that I use for my design clients and the show gardens I’ve won awards for. It is important that plants have longevity and are grown so that they are robust. Otherwise, they will have to be replaced, which is not economical for people’s pockets, or our plants.

 Soto Gardens' Garden Designer, Will Williams leading a Garden Consultation

Sounds great! With that quest for longevity in mind, we’d love to hear your recommendations for florals which will continually flower throughout the summer season!

  • Geraniums are brilliant repeat flowers; just deadhead them with secateurs throughout the year, to continually enjoy a display of stunning flowers. The Rozanne is a particular favourite with the Soto team – it is perfect for borders or pots, the plant trails beautifully over the side of containers and fills gaps in beds, providing a pretty splash of colour.
  • Astrantias are one of my favourite plants, also loved by florists for their elegance within a bouquet. Astrantias are repeat flowerers, you’ll notice the heads begin to lose their vibrancy during the season and become dry after a few weeks blooming. Just snip these stems back to under the foliage for the plant to rejuvenate and flower again and again. They make an appearance in nearly all of Soto’s pre-designed borders.
  • The Australian Daisy is one of the best pot fillers. Either used as underplanting so it cascades down the sides of pots or as a small table top statement, you really do get your bang for your buck when it comes to the flowering season. Depending on the type of gardener you are, you can either leave this little guy be or dead head as the daisy like flowers begin to fade. At Soto we love the Australian Daisy as underplanting for an olive tree or bay tree.
  • Catmint is a beautifully scented long flowerer, a good cut back in mid-May (the Chelsea Chop) will ensure flowers throughout the summer. We use this in the Soto House and Soto Classic borders.
  • Salvia is another of my favourites, in particular Salvia Caradonna. I use this to inject rich deep colour to borders. It can sit in almost any style, when paired with the right plants. For an elegant approach, try pairing it with lush greens and whites. For a more relaxed and natural scheme, this can be used with the Mexican feather grass for a soft yet considered design.

Tell us more about Soto Garden’s delivery promise

Soto delivers throughout the UK in 3-7 working days. You can obtain a complete garden design, planting plan, plants and guidance within a matter of days. This rapid, one-stop approach saves the need to spend precious weekends at the garden centre. We work on the premise that if you can measure your garden one weekend, you should generally expect to be ready to plant your borders the next.

A super quick service then! Tell us more about larger, more impactful plants which require minimal care; which are worth investing in?

For ease, I’m going to split my recommendations into different price points.

If you’re looking for something economical – I’d go for Catmint. It’s a brilliant long flowering perennial which can withstand the non-green fingered gardener and will give great impact throughout the year, either in a pot or border.

Medium price point: I’m a big fan of Domes. Whether Ilex, Taxus or Pittosporum, they bring year-round interest, structure and form to a garden. Planted in pots or within a border, they always look great.

High price point: Trees are your best bet. Structurally they add a lot to an outside space and investing in them will pay dividends for years to come. Whether you go for a calming Acer or a more Mediterranean Olive, they add height and drama to a garden. Try illuminating them with uplighters to enhance their effect in the evenings.

Are Soto Gardens launching any new products that you’d like to tell us about?

We have just launched our Soto Pet collection. Vet approved, it’s sure to be safe for pets, whilst remaining design led. This collection is effortless, moody and refined. Like all Soto Gardens' collections, it is low maintenance, and has been designed to be serene and very importantly, pet friendly!

We went about designing these pre-made borders in response to lots of questions about plants that are safe for pets. We love chatting to our customers; having listened to them, we wanted to provide a complete solution to a common query.

A Soto Gardens' Garden Design, featuring house with well stocked borders, by RHS award winning designer Will Williams

It’s been great to chat, thanks so much Will. Finally, can you share with us your favourite Garden Trading products and tell us what makes each one indispensable to your gardening experience?!

Oh yes, lots to choose from here! First up are your Barrington Raspberry Stakes, which form the base of our herb kitchens. It’s lovely having these positioned by the back door as it smells wonderful when walking past the collection, thanks to the aromatic leaves of the herbs. Alternatively, stakes are great for having near the BBQ, so you can quickly season meat and fish – or make a mojito!

Your smaller Watering Can is a great accessory on the potting table as it’s the perfect size for watering herbs, indoor plants and outside flowerpots on balconies and terraces. It looks really stylish too. The Kneeler is a great garden accessory and ensures comfort when weeding and planting. All my aunts received one this Christmas! I also love the Garden Apron; it’s such a practical addition to your kit, particularly as it features a pocket that can hold tools.

Finally, it has to be your Hose and Hose Hanger. Watering your borders properly is vital for healthy plants. The Watering Hose comes complete with an adjustable spray gun, making it perfect for watering plants both in flowerbeds and in pots. Keeping everything neatly organised, the Garden Hose Hanger keeps your garden hose safely stored so it’s always in good condition and remains detangled, in readiness for hydrating the garden.


On Friday 10th May 2024, one lucky competition entrant will be selected at random to win an online garden consultation with Soto Gardens' very own star designer Will Williams, plus £250 to spend on the collections at www.sotogardens.com. That isn’t all; the winner will also be the recipient of a £500 Garden Trading voucher, allowing them to select coveted pieces from our SS24 ranges. All in, this incredible prize has a combined RRP of £1000. The competition closes at 5pm on 10.5.24 and T&Cs apply. 

 To enter the competition, complete the entry form found below, and ‘like’ and follow both Instagram accounts: www.instagram.com/gardentradingcompany
and www.instagram.com/sotogardens for a chance to win big! 

This competition has now closed.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Entrants must be aged 18+ and have a UK postal address.
  • Entrants cannot be employees of either Soto Gardens or Garden Trading, members of employees’ immediate families, or anyone else connected with the promotion or businesses.
  • No automated, bulk, third party or consumer group entries are permitted to enter the competition.
  • Each individual is permitted to enter the competition once only.
  • To enter the competition, complete the entry form and ‘like’ both Instagram accounts, www.instagram.com/gardentradingcompany and www.instagram.com/sotogardens.
  • The competition prize is for one person to receive a garden consultation with Will Williams, plus a £250 voucher to spend at Soto Gardens. In addition, the winner will receive a £500 voucher to spend at Garden Trading.
  • Entry into the competition is valid from 03/05/2024 to 10/5/2024, at 5pm.
  • The competition winner will be selected at random after entries have closed and then notified by email within 48 hours.
  • Any entry which is incomplete, incomprehensible, late, incorrectly submitted or otherwise does not comply with the rules of the competition may be deemed invalid, at the sole discretion of Garden Trading.
  • Should you win the competition, Garden Trading will use your email contact details to administer the prize.
  • Garden Trading and Soto Gardens reserves the right to substitute any prize item for an alternative of similar value.
  • The winner cannot exchange any part of the prize for cash.
  • If you are the lucky winner, Garden Trading and Soto Gardens reserve the right to use your name and or/image online in the Garden Trading journal and on social media as required.
  • Garden Trading reserves the right to withdraw this competition or amend these terms and conditions without notice, at any time.

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