My clients wanted to make their garden feel more accessible from the kitchen having put in beautiful floor to ceiling sliding doors.The first thing I did was to choose a porcelain tile with a weathered oak affect. I decided on a slightly larger tile to create both a seamless effect as well as indicating it was a change to an outdoor space.We also raised the level of the patio so now my clients can walk straight out into the outdoors without stepping down. It is surprising what a difference this makes.We clad the raised planters with Cedar wood which, if [...]
June is a productive month to revisit gardens that we have designed and built, especially when the work was done in Winter or early Spring. During that time plants arrivde and once planted the perennials could only be noticed by a few small sticks. It takes all my efforts to assure clients that there is more to come!In this garden the overriding design theme was tranquility. We choose woodland plants to suit the large Cedar in the back garden. At the back the clients wanted a more open prairie feel so we used Sesleria autumnal and because the soil was heavy clay [...]
The whole front garden was just shingle onto of old brick and concrete. The worse the garden the better for me as the transformation is that much more delightful.My clients wanted a front garden design that would compliment and enhance the front of their newly renovated house. They still wanted an area to drive into the property to park and they wanted the bed to be very low maintenance.I separated the drive area from the garden with a mixed evergreen hedge and a bespoke black metal arch to match the curve of the arch over the doorway and the metal trim [...]
Sorry for the short blog but I just had to show you this picture of a rose I took in Salisbury last week! Natural light is falling into the already lighter colour of the rose just as a bee dives in.
Even a well designed garden can become tired and frayed at the edges as plants get leggy or do better than expected in a particular spot.We replanted the beds, shaped and sculptured 5 large Pittisporum trees and tried to link the magnificent Magnolia that stands in the middle of the lawn with the rest of the garden by planting the 2 Pittisporum ball shaped plants- Pittisporum Tom Thumb and Pittisporum Golf Ball.These plants will become beautifully round and look as if a giant has scattered its marbles on the lawn.
In my last blog I gave some background to Great Dixter.One striking element to the gardens is both the house and strong, dark greens of the Yew topiary. They provide a strong tonal background to the frothier temporal planting of perennials and annuals.This garden is also well known for its use of rare plants and unusual combinations.They beds are saturated in planting detail and even though the gardens are not big one can spend hours there immersed in each 'garden room'.
Just to cheer you up with a dose of green I found these photos of Great Dixter's garden that I took last Summer.Great Dixter was built by Edwin Lutyens in 1910 in the Arts and Crafts style as an ad on to a 15th Century farm house.It was his son, Christopher Lloyd who created the innovative gardens that the house is now famous for.In 2006 Fergus Garrett took over as Head Gardener and he has carried on the experimental, out of the box planting choices and schemes in the spirit of Christopher Lloyd.I love the Giant Fennel, Ferula communis, and [...]
After removing 60 tonnes of soil and clay down 15 steep steps we put this Hot Tub to bed!By using curved paths and varying the stone we used with a thinner Dutch brick we were able to make a dramatic difference to this back garden. The plants will come out soon and when you are in the Hot Tub the plants will form a subtle cocoon around your head.For height we went for a Weeping Birch, Weeping Cherry, Malus Red Sentinel and Sorbus Pink Pagoda. Even in small gardens it is important to be bold with planting trees. If you [...]
We balanced the bright white paths with large limestone rocks, and lush woodland planting like Blechnum spicant, Hellebores, Epimedium and some Armeria maritima.The two green wrapped columns are Australian tree ferns which we are ready to disrobe as soon as the weather improves.In the far back of the garden we have planted Sesleria and Dog daisies to soften the picture and provide a backdrop of movement when the breeze picks up.Japanese acres are dotted about and will blaze with their spring and Autumn colour and give some height under the canopy of this magnificent Cedar tree.
If you ever have a few hours to spare, Denmans gardens near Chichester are worth visiting. They are the personal gardens of John Brooks, one of the most influential designers of the 20th Century.What John does so well is create wonderful forms from plant life that form a live tapestry. As you wander around the winding paths you discover a combination of trees and shrubs that have taken years to grow into the combinations that he must have had in his mind years before when he planted the garden.The gardens are a homage to interesting leaf textures and shapes and the [...]