Set in a secluded cul de sac, this large garden contains several mature trees which give the garden a lovely ‘sylvan’ atmosphere.
Our brief was to retain this spirit whilst taming the long – neglected borders and lawns to create a tranquil space in which to relax and potter. The house, long cut off from its surroundings, was to be directly linked to the outdoors providing a sense of continuity and clearly defined structure. Taking inspiration from the architecture of the 1930s property we devised a formal rectilinear layout maximising the vistas along the width and breadth of the space.
A Wisteria clad oak pergola forms the centre piece of the garden; open on all sides and subtly lit with low voltage copper lanterns. The pitched roof and mosaic centre piece reflect similar detailing upon the house. A specially commissioned owl sculpture made by Karen Lewis is framed by the pergola and appears to be landing on an old tree stump in the border.
To the west lies a formal lawn overlooked by an aerial Hornbeam hedge which gives the garden privacy along this boundary. Here the border is planted with drifts of low maintenance perennials such as the gracefully transparent Molinia caerula and bright pink Persicaria interlaced with winter interest shrubs such as the vibrant Cornus; all of which sit against the backdrop of a native tapestry hedge.
To the east of the pergola an orchard of old english apple varieties sits within a beautiful pictorial meadow of wild flowers. This annual mix, developed by Dr. Nigel Dunnett at Sheffield University consists of a mixture of native and non native species, rich in nectar with a long flowering season. Containing, amongst other things, Fairy toadflax, Red flax, Larkspur, and Cornflower, sown in May it has already been a spectacular sight covered in bees, hover flies, butterflies and other insects.
At the edge of the wildflower meadow sits a living willow arbour around a log seat made from a cherry tree that was felled here earlier in the year. From this seat a vista runs through the meadow and pergola, across the lawn and to a curved bench beneath the panelled Hornbeam hedge.
Along the path a living willow arbour leads along the cuttings border that provides flower arranging material, into the kitchen garden, an informal area for family dining and entertaining. A generous handmade oak table and benches were made especially for this area by Chris; raised hardwood beds contain herbs and vegetables for cooking, a covered seat looks across the garden and an area for composting is hidden away in one corner.
A pathway from the kitchen garden leads to a secluded courtyard to be viewed from the dining room. Here a large Portuguese earthenware pot overflows into a rill which gently feeds a formal lily pool, the still water of which reflects the sky. This is a private contemplative space surrounded by bamboo and Hydrangea petiolaris.