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 […]
A family garden with an unusual client brief: to design a garden for a tortoise (actually, three tortoises!). The main priorities for the design brief were to:
- Make the most of the limited sun (it’s a north facing garden)
- Provide some interesting views from the various windows
- Create an enclosure for the tortoises
The plot itself it is an awkward L-shape, quite narrow on both sides, as the house has recently been extended and the depth of the garden reduced. It is surrounded on both long boundaries by tall hedging and trees, with very limited sun. Several design challenges in one garden alone.
As the garden is slightly disjointed, being split into two distinct areas, we used timber slatted screening to create cohesion, using it to hide some ugly hedging as well as the backdrop to two main focal points in the garden. Where the two lengths of the garden meet we created the main dining area, which is also the sunniest spot. Sitting here you can enjoy view both legs of the garden. A raised brick built planting bed with integrated timber seating wraps around two sides of the raised deck.
A number of design features provide points of interest from the various windows. Three tall pots stand in a row, planted with box balls, with a backdrop of timber slatted screening. From another window the water feature can be seen; a steel rill that extends from the raised planting bed. The water tumbles into a splash pool, creating a soothing sound as well as visual interest. The view from the dining room is of a beautiful Acer palmatum atropurpureum, growing from a decked area, again with a slatted screen back drop.
Keeping the […]
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 new design makes the most of the awkward wedge shaped garden, maximising space whilst providing attractive views to enjoy from the rear windows of the house. A series of open square spaces have been laid with contemporary sandstone to contrast with the more traditional planting. A water feature and rill run through the paving creating an interesting focal point whilst two timber arches provide vertical interest over which two Wisteria have been grown.
A small garden incorporating a timber hot tub has been given the wow factor to create a contemporary town garden. A bold contemporary design has been created over a number of levels stepping down from the house via a series of steps and platforms. Three substantial stepping-stones direct you over a reflective pool, adding a sense of danger and fun, to a sun deck to enjoy on warmer days. The focal point is a stunning decorative dry stone wall used as a contemporary sculpture. This has the added advantage of hiding the garden shed.