HILL – A STEEPLY SLOPING GARDEN
“Thanks for creating such a lovely garden. This time last year it was nothing!! Amazing really. By the way the little tree you planted behind the bench was GORGEOUS this autumn.” AS
This steeply sloping garden fell along both its length and its width, making for a very uncomfortable space. This wasn’t helped by the neighbour building a brick and flint wall (beautifully made, nice detailing) that ran parallel to the ground so that there was quite a lean on the pillars – it really makes you feel quite tipsy to be anywhere near it! However, the upside to the slope is that the views are quite lovely from the top, something to harness in the new design.
IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THE SLOPE, THE SITE WAS RECONTOURED TO MAKE IT LEVEL ACROSS ITS WIDTH
This created a bank on the far side from the wall which was planted with a mix of shrubs, grasses and perennial flowers, arranged to minimise the effect of the height of the bank. Two level areas, one in the centre of the garden and another at the top, have wonderful oak pergolas to frame the views both up and down, while keeping a distance from the wall or the different angles in the verticals would have been very disconcerting!
I designed the pergolas with a lovely chunky oak and thin steel cross bars to balance their weight so that they are sculptural without being overpowering.
THE LOWER PERGOLA IS UNASHAMEDLY ROMANTIC, ACTING AS A HALF-WAY PAUSING POINT ON THE JOURNEY THROUGH THE GARDEN
The lower pergola has been planted with scented roses, catmint and verbena bonariensis, while vines have been planted over the upper pergola. While the lower pergola is mainly decorative, the upper pergola features an oak deck and is now a lovely place to sit.
I chose plants with muted colours for the garden, creating a lovely harmony which will look even better as the wood ages to a soft grey.
This garden has amazing views but had been neglected for a long time, especially as there is no direct access from the house; now it is used and enjoyed.