The use of garden rooms has become the main design approach for a new house in Southport. It is a large garden and each garden room has a different character to enjoy as you walk from space to space.
A contemporary entertainment space leads off the living room. A feature wall of stone is the focal point, and is viewed as you enter the house from the front door. An outdoor kitchen is built of to one side. At the other side, a low wall extends towards the house and screens the hot tub from the main space.
Plenty of lawn was a key criteria for the young boys of the family. Consideration was given as to how the lawns would sit with the contemporary courtyard space. Straight lines ensure they they work comfortably together.
A formal kitchen garden leads from the orangery at the side of the house. There is also a raised bed and a greenhouse, and espaliered fruit trees are grown against the brick boundary wall.
Lastly, you walk through a metal moon gate to the wildflower meadows. Nestled amongst the flowers there is also a wildlife pond with a small wooden bridge to cross.
Strong symmetry and clean crisp lines give this area a very formal feel, creating a grand entrance to the new house. An avenue of trees leads to the front door, each tree planted in a square of box hedging. In addition, an elegant wrought iron pergola extends through the space, and is viewed from one of the main windows.
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 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 […]
The builders of a new house in Prestbury left behind a narrow stone terrace and curved steps to the upper lawn. Neither of these awkwardly shaped areas sat comfortably with the grand Arts & Crafts style house.
The brief was to create a garden that would work in harmony with the materials and character of the house. It also needs to fulfill the lifestyle requirements of my clients and their two growing boys.
Space at house level needed to be maximised for entertaining whilst leaving enough lawn for the boys’ enthusiastic games of football. We therefore extended the main terrace outwards with access to the lawn via a number of steps around the terrace. The retaining walls doubled up as raised planting beds. Being able to bring greenery closer to the house helps to soften the hard landscaping. Planting is a mixture of grasses, perennials and clipped box and yew hedging. The client is an enthusiastic outdoor chef and a glass veranda was built against the house to create an all weather seating area.
We chose a beautiful black slate to contrast with the white render of both the house and the walls. This also reflects perfectly the colour of the window frames. This tone looks wonderful when wet so great when it rains, which it does a lot in the North West.
Free-standing rendered walls act as focal points seen from the two large windows, and in line with the main steps to the lawn.
The garden wraps around the side of the house where it isn’t viewed from the house. With so much additional space we were able to create a large basketball court for the boys. To make this all year round, we used artificial turf .
We were appointed to design a large family garden in Chester and asked to maximise the lawn for a play area but provide enough interest for the ‘grown ups’.
The main priority was to create an extensive new dining terrace that would extend the entire width of the property. A set of generously wide steps provide access to the lawn. These also act as a seating area from which to watch the children playing. From here they also enjoy the view across the lawns to the ‘secret ‘garden. Tall planting is introduced adjacent to the terrace to be be enjoyed from within the house and when sitting on the terrace.
The client wanted a ‘secret’ garden, the layout of which we based loosely on the art of Mondrian. It is a geometric pattern with squares of plants, gravel or large stones to create a patchwork of different textures. A timber fence of uprights and horizontals painted in black further reinforce this link to Mondrian A series of black timber posts directing the path around the secret garden. A larger gravel area is provided for a small ‘hidden’ seating area.
A memento from their recent trip to China takes pride of place amongst the planting. It is a metal statue not unlike the terracotta warriors. This has influenced the colour palette for the planting of warm bronzes and oranges that contrast boldly against the black paintwork. Texture is found not only in the materials used to build the garden but also in the planting choices. Bright Geums and Leucanthemums are softened by wispy grasses.
The finished design is loved by the client and her family. She claims that it successfully reflects her own artistic taste whilst providing all the space the children could wish for.
The owner of this small space wanted a traditional courtyard garden. A size of only 7.0 x 7.0m meant that we had a real challenge on our hands. This provided a real challenge to provide a garden that was to be both practical and attractive.
First of all the client wanted to retain some lawn which meant that we had less space for their other requirements. In addition we were asked to keep the existing shed which reducing the space even more. The garden was adjacent to the shared car parking area. As a consequence privacy was an issue.
Bricks were used to build the raised planting bed to visually link the new garden to the house. This also created a change in level to add interest as well as seating on the extended half circular coping stone. In addition, a new timber screen creates the privacy required as well as acting as a trellis for climbing roses. We painted both the shed and screens to match, tying these fixtures together.
The clients are delighted with a space which is now the pretty cottage style garden that they had hoped for. Most of all they like the fact that they can enjoy the garden equally inside and out.
The client asked for an elegant garden terrace to complement their new orangery. The brief was to create a space that linked the building styles together. They also needed a new seating area to enjoy the views of the garden and to screen a utility area.
We reused the beautiful York stone paving to ensure the design sits comfortably with the traditional architecture of the house. New planting terraces were built using block work and rendered to match the orangery. Rendered walls used to build the terraced planting areas ensure that they blend more readily with the more contemporary style of the orangery.
The client wanted to make better use of her existing lead water feature that had been previously overlooked. It has been successfully reused. It is now an attractive feature within the space that is attached to a new wall. This wall also acts a screen to an area that houses the washing line.
Planting has been kept very traditional using many cottage garden favourites such as Astrantia and lavender. The charming pink and purples of perennials are interspersed with wispy grasses and scented roses. Formality within the planting is provided by holly topiary.
A Gold Medal RHS Show Garden for the Alzheimer’s Society, ‘Remember to Reflect’. I was approached a year earlier to design a garden to help promote the great work of Alzheimer’s Society in the North West of England.
First of all we decided that it had to be a large garden to create the most impact. It was to be designed as a space for quiet reflection. Somewhere to reminisce and seek inspiration and pleasure in the simple joys of nature. It could be a garden for the carer of someone living with Alzheimers to maybe sit on their own. Or for a carer and patient to sit and enjoy together.
A dark, reflective pool emphasises the reflective nature of the space. The pool introduces the cool and calming qualities of water. Large stepping-stones across the water appear to float on the surface. The choice of materials is kept to a minimum to keep the overall design simple and sophisticated. Planting was chosen to contrast with the modern simplicity of the hard landscaping; it is exuberant and naturalistic. Grasses have been used for their fabulous texture and movement with the colourful flower heads of tall perennials for contrast.
We and the team from Alzheimer’s Society were absolutely delighted when the garden was awarded a gold medal. All the hard work of the landscape team and volunteers who helped to plant it really paid off.
During the show the garden featured on many local and national radio shows and the response from the public was enormous.
The brief was to create a contemporary outdoor room for entertaining, which would sit well with the modern interior of his Victorian terrace. Pale materials help to reflect light and make the garden look larger and the main open space has been split in two with a change of levels. A painted feature wall is the main focal point as seen from the conservatory, with a window cut through so the planting behind can be seen. A bespoke stone bench forms part of the walls of the raised planting beds and provides permanent seating. Planting is mainly evergreen for year round interest with a simple green, white and burgundy colour palette whilst lighting has been designed to be subtle but striking.
A larger than average front garden has been given a strong decorative finish to create an informal front garden.
Structure was created by using granite setts, gravel and sweeping curves of perennials and grasses. The centrepiece is a large stone ball from which the different elements move outwards in a spiral. A multi-stemmed silver birch provides height and winter interest. No longer a mere boring swathe of lawn, this new front garden makes a real design statement.
A large south facing garden has been given an informal layout with strong structure and focus to maximise enjoyment of the whole site. Winding paths entice you to take a journey around the garden to enjoy different planting areas, walking through a semi-circular pergola that provides vertical structure for scented climbers and creates a shaded seating area. The garden owner now enjoys eating his own fruit and veg that he grows in the new kitchen garden.