Despite its beautiful location overlooking Nidderdale, this south-facing property suffered from cramped outdoor space, awkward slopes, no area for children to play within view of the kitchen and lacked shelter from prevailing winds. The brief was to tackle these issues and to to provide a formal, elegant space which is requires minimum maintenance and maximum value to wildlife – in particular to bees. Inspiration included Islamic gardens and the famous terraced gardens of Nicole de Vesian in Provence.
The solution was to extend the domestic curtilage and create clearly-defined new areas which flow into each other. The car parking zone leads into a relaxing enclosed white garden, with hexagonal edging detailing around a feature blackthorn (to be gradually shaped). Walking up new steps one reaches the main terrace which is now level and offers an area for dining and simple coffee table outside the kitchen door. A combination of hawthorn, box topiary and osmanthus hedging define this space. The trees are planted in hexagonal groups, giving order and referencing the hexagonal shape of beehive cells. This leads down to a new lawned area, with a ‘peaches and cream’ summer border and a impactful rose hedge. A water water trough fountain adds sound and interest. The outflow of this fountain links to hidden drip lines which irrigate all lower lawn planting areas. This walling around this area is designed so that children playing here can be seen from a seating position both from the terrace and the extended vegetable garden.
This garden (to be built in second phase) is reached from the terrace. Raised beds will be filled with vegetables and cutting flowers for the house. At the end of this area is a seating areas surrounded by the owners’ favourite roses, and shaded by a second magnolia. There is a space for an outside pizza oven (designed with an oxidised copper cover in the shape of a beehive skep), a second trough fountain (with drinking water) and a large area set aside for a greenhouse. The wildflower meadow to the front of the house is accessed through a gate beside the greenhouse.