Designing a large family garden in Chester

So what do you do with a large plot and a budget that is substantial but a bit stretched for the size of the plot? Well, you have to compromise and prioritise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful garden if you use the right garden designer 😉

basic plan

Basic site plan

Blue Tulip Garden Design had just this dilemma when we were appointed to design a garden in Chester a couple of years ago. Fortunately the client had young children who needed ALOT of space for their games and sports so we ‘designed’ in plenty of lawn.

Initial garden design sketch

Initial garden design sketch

The main priority was to provide the family with an extensive new dining terrace. This extended the entire length of the property, taking in the granny annexe, giving a few options for dining on the way. As this is a raised area, it provides a degree of interest in what is essentially a very flat plot. Extra wide steps create a seating area for family and friends to watch the children playing their completive sports on the lawn.  Planting has been brought close to the house so that it can be enjoyed close up rather than from a distance. Plants with some height were used to peep over the raised terrace. The purple flowered Verbena bonariensis grows up to 2.0m tall, always a useful plant to use en masse when you need an airy screening plant.

The new dining terrace

The new dining terrace

The client was very artistic and she wanted a ‘secret’ garden to be full of bold shapes and texture. The layout of this area was loosely based on the art of Mondrian: very geometric with squares of plants, gravel or large stones to create a patchwork of different textures.

Batra - secret garden basic plan

The basic structure of the ‘secret’ garden

Sketch A

Design development of the ‘secret’ garden

A timber fence of uprights and horizontals painted in black further reinforced this link to Mondrian. A series of black timber posts directing the path around the secret garden.


Black timber posts create screening and direction

Within this area is a small seating area, providing a private hideaway with a view back towards the house. A number of multi-stemmed Amelanchier lamarckii create height and a degree of screening.

Secret garden seating

A hidden seating area in the ‘secret’ garden

A memento from their recent trip to China took pride of place in amongst the planting, an unusual feature which set the colour palette for the planting of warm bronzes and oranges that contrast boldly against the black paintwork. Texture is found in materials used to build the garden and also in the planting choices. There are grasses, spiky Phormium and blousy perennials such as Geum ‘Prinses Juliana’. The client’s daughter’s favourite the daisy like Leucanthemum superbum (if you pronounce it incorrectly!).


Authentic Chinese statue provides a focal point

The finished design is loved by the client. She claims it successfully reflects her own artistic taste whilst providing all the space the children could wish for.


If you’ve enjoyed reading my first blog about garden design, please feel free to share with friends or re-pin photos to your Pinterest boards. Watch out for more blogs here! And if you would like to speak to us about designing a garden for you and your family, please give Louise a call on 01625 524877.