Large contemporary Garden – Berkshire

  • Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies'

Contemporary garden for the rear and clean & simple driveway

Set within rural Berkshire, the garden was a blank canvas in that there was little in the way of planting or structural hard landscaping.  The majority of the garden was laid to lawn.  A large, open and north-west facing, the garden sits on a rectangular plot with borrowed landscape in the form of trees from the neighbouring lane.  The garden design brief therefore was to create a contemporary garden, that was visually uplifting and low maintenance.  It should also offer the opportunity to make the most of the early morning sun captured at the end of the garden.

Features to retain within the garden were two mature trees, a cherry close to the house and a bay further down the garden.  These trees act as focal points and help to sub-divide the garden into different areas and allow a staggered, indirect journey down the garden.  Areas of decking set into gravel form a walkway through the garden.  Lush planting of textural, ornamental grasses hug the paths and patio.  Block planting of shrubs create backdrops and semi-transparent screens.  A new generously proportioned terrace, or patio, of granite adjoins the house, allowing much needed space for outside entertainment.  The owner has dogs and so a robust paving was required. Granite was an attractive yet durable choice.  Two specimen ornamental pear trees are positioned in the planting bed closest to the house.  The trees can be beautifully up-lit and act as a focal point while dining or relaxing on the patio.

To the rear of the garden, in front of a brick garage, is located a seating area to relax and enjoy the morning.  The garage was softened by constructing a wooden slatted screen onto which climbing plants could grow.  Two clematis were selected that will flower during different seasons.  To give a feeling of intimacy, beds were created surrounding the area, and planted with ornamental grasses, ferns and perennials, flowering throughout late spring and summer.  Having previously designed the client’s son and daughter-in-law’s garden, my client knew which materials she loved. The lead to the decision to use western red cedar for the slatted screen, along with western red cedar decking. The decking will silver over time and is coupled with a pale limestone gravel.

To the front of the house the existing garden was gravel and there were two beds to either side of the bay window which were home to Boston ivy.  The ivy, although highly attractive, was a constant maintenance issue.  The existing gravel was not retained in any way and so would spread onto the pavement.  The front garden was also home to an apple tree.  The garden design sought to simplify, and clean-up, the appearance of the garden.  Firstly the ivy and planting beds were removed and a new driveway surface laid of a gravel combined with block paving which would retain the gravel.  Block paving around the front door allowed for an area to place planters and a solid surface on entering and exiting the house.  The house is very pretty and so did not need much in the way of planting.  The client planted two bay standards in planters by the front door. The existing apple tree and ivy that softens the garden walls leaves the front garden attractive but low maintenance.

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