A Garden For All Seasons, nr Bedale

About This Project

An historic property set in a wonderful location, with spectacular views over open countryside and a nearby castle. Currently the garden is a virtual blank canvas, leaving the property feeling exposed to onlookers and the elements.

The design brief was to create a classic, romantic, English garden in keeping with the main house and dovecote. It was also to give this site both the sense of occasion it deserves, but also to feel intimate and like home. There are some drainage issues on site, so the design would need to resolve them, while keeping a tight eye on budget. Planting was to be extensive and, in places, at scale.

Once a survey had been undertaken, we began (as always) by researching the site and – especially important here – the history of the house. It was a former threshing barn, added to later. Both house and dovecote were linked to the castle just a stone’s throw away. An easy option would have been to follow a formal castle garden route, but that never felt correct. Instead we strived to find a balance between formality and the more humble origins of the property. We determined to use roses, topiary, espallier and avenues of trees; but to stick to simpler, species planting.

In terms of layout, the site naturally falls into four garden areas, around which the sun moves like a clock. We determined to create gardens which would look good all year, but come into their own in each season. So, the east-facing side garden becomes a spring garden, with a colour palette of blues, whites, pale yellow and blush pink and an arbor to sit underneath in the morning. The south-facing front of the house is the summer garden – full of white planting, espallier screening and scent. The western-facing lawn is an autumn garden, with a rose avenue and beds with jewel colours. The extensive rear garden is designed with winter in mind, with beehive-style topiary, ridge and furrow landforms in a new wildflower lawn to add drama in the low sun, and a raised seating and dining area for year-round entertaining.

The boundaries between the gardens are defined with traditional brick to match the existing. There is additional brick detailing in new raised on the front and rear terrace beds and at the entrance to the house and doorways leading out into the garden.

The garden will be build in two stages, over this year and the next.