The final design exploits the hilly site by creating layers of interest, with each graveled terrace providing a vantage point from which to view the decorative planting.
The sunny front garden is a haven for birds and insects, which feed on the nectar-rich flowers and grass seeds, while the garden to the side of the house includes a table and bench for eating al fresco. Cool and shady, the woodland area is shielded from neighbors’ windows by three birch canopies and will feel more enclosed when the yew hedge matures, while considered lighting creates exciting shadow patterns in the evening.
Most of the soil in the new garden had to be imported, because the original topsoil was either removed during the building work or contaminated by cement, and this is a factor new designers may not foresee, or cost into the price of the job. The new soil was then tested and bulky manure added to this area to ensure the trees would thrive.
The three parts of the garden each include a seating area with a wooden bench from which the clients can enjoy different views, and these are linked by paved paths and gravel surfaces which help to unify the design. The gravel is set on a layer of compacted graded base, but Chris has not used a weed-suppressing membrane, as she wants the flowers and grasses to self-seed into the stones and soften edges. The clients can weed out any seedlings they don’t want to keep.
When dealing with a sloping site, it is crucial to take accurate measurements for all new landscaping. Here, shallow steps manage a change in gradient (Image 1).
These gleaming bubble fountains emerge from cubes made of oak, creating a simple but effective statement in the corner of the woodland garden (Image 2).
Visitors are welcomed to the property by beds of dynamic prairie-style planting. Grasses whisper and rustle in the breeze, while the blooms of Echinacea and Sedum, fringed by lower-growing Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’, form a dazzling chorus that arrests attention and demands closer inspection. This garden peaks in summer when the perennials are in flower, but as fall approaches the flowers’ seedheads remain and mingle with the green and sand-colored grasses to paint a more subtle, but equally beautiful picture. The show continues into winter when the scene sparkles with frost as temperatures plummet.
In Full Bloom
The flowering plants here include Achillea ‘Terracotta’ (faded from its rusty color to pale yellow) and Echinacea ‘Sunset’ (Image 1).
Green Grass of Home
Grasses add texture to this prairie-style planting and include Anemanthele lessoniana and Stipa calamagrostis (Image 2).
Excerpted from Garden Design
©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009