We were contacted by a client to design a contemporary Cumbrian garden with views. They were building an unusual and radical new house in Kirkby Lonsdale on a disused allotment site.  To make the most of the stunning views towards the Cumbrian fells beyond the architect took a radical approach. The living areas are on the upper floors and the bedrooms and workshop at ground level.

The garden is on three levels, with the largest area being at the same level as the main entrance to the house. First of all, there is a secret level, hidden from the house, enjoying uninterrupted views across the river below. Another hidden area is found at the highest level of the plot, behind the house.  Built into the boundary wall is a new stone shed.

The main requirement of the contemporary Cumbrian garden was to ensure the views towards the Howgill Fells are kept clear. Therefore anything  built or planted within the garden had to be below a certain height. As a result, the only element built above full height is the new stone arbor,  built in front of the gable end of the house below. The roof of the arbor lines up perfectly with the lines of the gable end.

A large rectangular lawn sits in the centre, with planting around the borders. To allow easy viewing across the site, plant choices are low growing.

Low stone walls

Low stone walls of differing heights are scattered around the site to create structure and provide year round interest.  All structural elements of the garden are built in the same materials as the house,  resulting in a seamless link between the house and garden. Some of the stone walls act as seating around the garden.


This contemporary Cumbrian house was on the short list of the RIBA Grand Designs House of the Year.

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