An historic property set in a wonderful location, with spectacular views over open countryside and a nearby castle. When we were called in, the garden was a blank canvas, lacking planting, 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, pleach 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 space is entered by double rose rope swags on oak posts. The south-facing front of the house is the summer garden – full of white planting, roses and lavender, and enclosed with pleached crab apples and yew beehive topiary. The western-facing lawn is an autumn garden, with a rose avenue and beds with jewel colours. The extensive rear garden was bare and exposed originally. To save costs, we kept the layout of the terrace, but improved it with new coping stones and steps. Pleach hornbeam enclose the space but allow views out from dining and seating areas. A water trough with three headers adds interest. There are steps up through cutting beds to a new greenhouse and seating area, with views to the castle. With winter in mind, we have enclosed the site in a yew hedge, and designed ridge and furrow landforms to add drama in snow. Lighting brings the garden to life at night.
This is a garden that has evolved slowly in several build stages, and images show the rear garden newly completed. We continue to greatly enjoy refining and working on this garden with the client.
There are a few ‘before’ images at the end of the portfolio.