This contemporary low maintenance garden uses trained fruit trees to screen the various areas from neighbouring properties.
Overlooked by many houses along two boundaries this garden, on a new housing estate, needed bringing up to date to compliment both the modern architecture of the house and the contemporary taste of its two young owners.
The clients, already keen vegetable growers, were keen to grow other edible varieties in the garden. This was achieved by using trained fruit trees as semi transparent screening: in the outdoor dining area with a fan trained ‘Falstaff’ apple and on the southern boundary where Conference pears will eventually become a trained aerial espalier. Not only do the trained fruit trees give garden users much needed privacy they also provide the edible produce that was an important part of the original brief.
The planting scheme is low maintenance with a strong evergreen presence to give winter interest. Tough ground cover plants such as Stachys lanata (Lamb’s Ears) Luzula nivea (Snowy Woodrush) and Liriope muscari (Lilyturf) drift through the borders smothering weeds and giving interesting leaf textures and flower throughout the year. The oppressive boundary fences will become green screens being covered by evergreen Cotoneaster ‘Rothschildianus’, Phyllostachys bissetti (dark green stemmed bamboo) and Garrya elliptica (Silk Tassel Bush)
The clients also wanted to maximise the area of lawn in the centre of the garden whilst sensitively dividing the space into interesting areas to explore. This problem was solved by creating a pathway running parallel to the house, a mini avenue with three Silver Birch (Betula jaquemontii) providing a translucent screen from the houses opposite. Viewed from the house the fence line and the pathway are obscured creating a sense of depth that makes the garden look larger. The birch have been planted in metre – wide tree pits lined with stone and cobbles, on an evening they are uplit by low voltage lights.
The front garden was very open and laid over completely to lawn, the soil, as in the rear garden is very moisture retentive and prone to winter flooding. With this in mind moisture loving species such as the umbrella plant Darmera peltata, Astilbe and Iris were planted beneath a Crab Apple (Malus ‘Red Sentinel’) which will thrive in the damp conditions.
Again the planting here is low maintenance with the crab apple and a large black elder (Sambucus nigra) providing screening from the rest of the street. Evergreen planting will give interest throughout the winter, climbers such as Hydrangea petiolaris and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) will soften the red brick of the house and garage. Scented winter shrubs: Sarcococca confusa (Christmas Box) and Viburnum tinus have been planted alongside the path and a subtle lighting scheme uplights the crab apple and the path on an evening.