VALLEY – A CONTEMPORARY NATURAL GARDEN
“We inherited a basic ‘developer’ garden. What we wanted was a garden which was in contrast to the valley. Precise walling, limited colour planting, a visual simplicity. That’s exactly what we got.” D&S S
All gardens pose some challenges but this one threw up a disproportionate number given its small size! The garden is made up of four distinct areas which bore no relationship to each other and which were all at different levels, with a tarmac drive that wrapped around two sides of the house, including right outside the ground floor main bedroom French doors.
However, it was set in a stunning landscape of valley, meadow and hedges.
My main objective was to link the four areas, to provide some privacy for the bedroom and to create a garden that sat comfortably with both the contemporary interior of the old stone farmhouse and also with the beautiful valley in which the garden sat. I also wanted to make it clearer, for my clients’ visitors, to know where the front door is – you’d be amazed how often it’s not obvious!
This entrance garden area is an awkward triangular shape, serving both as entrance and kitchen garden, so it needed some simple structure to define the space.
I USED A DOUBLE ROW OF SETTS TO GIVE THE ILLUSION OF A PATH TO THE FRONT DOOR
As there was no ground beneath this area of garden, I designed raised beds edged with 6mm steel for growing kitchen herbs. This theme of a double row of setts and chunky steel edging was then used throughout the rest of the garden to create unity between the very different areas.
The main garden which projects out from the lower single storey part of the house from my clients’ bedroom was re-contoured from the original ‘slope with a lump in the corner’ into three level areas to provide a terrace that runs the width of the garden from the French windows; a retaining wall that takes out ‘the lump’ to provide a large planting bed, and a lawn which is flanked by linear bands of grasses and flowers that mimic the linear nature of the hedges beyond, thus creating a link between the house and its landscape.
Society of Garden Designers Medium Residential Garden Award finalist 2014
All photographs are copyright Jason Ingram