Brunswick Cemetery, established almost 250 years ago, had become a dumping ground for nearly 1,000 needles and discarded condoms every year.
Since the transformation by ER Hemmings, the layout for the garden in Bristol includes a Welsh pennant-paved courtyard, rectangular beds planted with yew and Euonymus and a mounded grass oval.
Sentinel-like Carpinus betulus 'Frans Fontaine' echoes the rhythm of rows of Georgian tombs, said Andrew King, senior landscape architect at New Leaf Studio.
"We wanted to create a well-used small urban park," he added. "Hard paving and planting make it an attractive and safe space with better circulation and visibility.
"Broad naturalistic drifts of tough, flowering herbaceous perennials and ornamental grass will mass together as they mature to minimise maintenance needs. The 7,000 plants offer colour and texture for a large part of the year. Even in winter, dried stems and seed heads will provide muted colour variation, texture and structure.
"Native species such as primroses, cowslips, harebells, snowdrops and dog violets have been included within grass and planting, with the aim for these to colonise," said King.
The Big Lottery Fund awarded £388,000 in partnership with Bristol City Council and Places for People. An additional £25,000 section 106 planning contribution from Knightstone Housing helped towards public artwork.