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Probably one of the most challenging design and landscaping projects I have tackled to date. Over half the site was formerly a swimming pool, under cover, housed in a log-style cabin. The remaining garden area was small, with not much depth and a sloping lawn that suffered from poor drainage. The before images included at the bottom show the state of the garden when I initially visited the client.

The garden's main asset is its view across a valley with a hay meadow directly adjacent at the back. Maximising this view and blending the garden into these surroundings became the focus of the client brief. A vegetable growing area together with greenhouse and shed storage; a dedicated area for the client's chickens plus an area for attracting wild birds formed the main functions/requirements of the space. The existing garden was on two levels and how these would translate across to the new design was a key issue. The client wanted the two areas to feel more like one space, creating a 'flow' rather than a definite change.

The new design maximises the valley views by using simple trellis fence panels to offer a 'see-through' alternative while a newly planted beech hedge along the length of the back establishes itself. Beech was selected to pick up on the field hedging and the seasonal colour changes of the wider landscape, the rusty browns of the winter foliage blending with the distant beech trees and the blonde hues of the hay meadow.

Sweeping, curvy borders were created with good expanses of grass to mimick the rolling hills in the view. The curve is carried from the upper level to the lower level to create a sense of continuity between the spaces. The defining steps were also sweeping and curved, quarried locally and cut by a local stonemason.

Another aspect to the design in terms of materials was the existing K-rend finish to the back of the house. A very contemporary finish that needed to be repeated in the garden, but in a way that would be subtle and not disrupt the valley views. A large existing raised deck across the entire back of the house forming a terrace also had to be worked with and blended into the design.

Planting has been carefully considered and chosen to complement the wider context. A mixture of long flowering perennials, ornamental grasses and bulbs have been selected for the borders and raised K-rend beds. Grasses lend particularly well to connecting with the hay meadows giving movement and a similar seasonal change in colour. I have also selected an ornamental flowering clover, Trifolium rubens, to reflect the wildflower clover that makes up the sword of the hay meadow. The upper garden level is part of the main view of the landscape from the kitchen and lounge areas in the house, so planting here is slightly more restrained in terms of perennial mix and colour than the lower level. The lower section offers a richer palette of colours but keeps repeating the grasses and clover to give continuity.


For more pictures click on the arrows on the main frame image.