This long linear plot is surrounded by mature trees and tall evergreen hedging with a large cross slope, with very little going on except for a large neglected lawn. Immediate impression was that of excellent potential and the scale of works needed in creating a functional garden.
Although presented with a relatively open set of requirements, we worked closely with the clients to develop a brief for year-round use, entertaining and well-being. The main challenge of the site was a cross fall of nearly 3m, which we overcame with a series of retaining walls, creating a series of terraces that could be used at different times of the day. There would also be a garden building to be used as a wellness centre, with a gym and sauna; a water feature for relaxation; and instant impact with over 2000 plants, 15 semi-mature trees and a large amount of native hedging.
The proposed scheme was based on creating a series of spaces through the garden each with their own planting schemes, with a kitchen garden area at the far end of the garden. The colour palette throughout was kept neutral, with the use of shades of green, white, blues and purples.
For a formal feel close to the house we planted 6 Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’, which were underplanted with Hydrangea aborescens ‘Annabelle’, Agapanthus ‘Jacks Blue’, Anemone x japonica ‘Honorine Jobert’ and Pittosporum tenuifolium pruned into cubes.
Moving away from the house a series of multi-stemmed birches were planted to stand out against the dark green backdrop of existing evergreen hedging. The planting beds here were broken up with a series of low evergreen hedges of Taxus baccata, Griselinia littoralis and Fagus sylvatica creating planting compartments filled with foxgloves, geraniums and campanulas.
Around the water feature semi-mature cherry trees – 3 large Prunus ‘Tai-haku’ and 3 Prunus ‘Snow Goose’ were planted for their striking seasonal displays. These were underplanted with an array of perennials including Verbena bonariensis, Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’, Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Morning Select’ along with Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’, chosen for its red winter stems which would harmonise with the western red cedar of the garden building as well as the grass Anemanthele lessoniana.
Towards the rear of the garden, where the soil is drier, we used plants such as Perovskia ‘Lacey Blue’, cistus and verbascum.
With a neutral material palette throughout the garden we wanted the water feature to provide contrast. We used black basalt coping stones to finish the water feature. A dark interior, created with the Class B engineering bricks provided a better reflective surface to the water and gave the impression that the central dish was floating on the surface.
A range of lighting was proposed; Spike lighting to the trees, mini spikes to the planting and recessed lighting in the walls creates ambience and allows the garden to be enjoyed into the night. Back lighting the water feature with Hunza pond lighting createsa rippling effect cast onto the adjacent hedging and trees.
The hard landscaping featured buff flint gravel paths, porcelain paving and the retaining walls were rendered a pale grey to blend into the scheme. The materials were deliberately neutral to punctuate and highlight the planting contrast.
We’ve maintained regular contact with the owners; they often send us photos of them enjoying the garden which is always a joy for us to see.