With no existing features or character to guide the design, new-build homes with ‘blank Canvas’ plots can sometimes be more challenging to design than a more mature garden. This particular example was sloping across its entire depth and featured poor heavy clay soil. It was also an irregular awkward shape, producing lots of additional challenges.
We were asked to create a garden design to provide for all the families’ needs – lawn space for children’s play, a pleasant area for adults to sit and relax, generous planting with trees for seclusion and a safe water feature.
Our clients sometimes regard a sloping site as undesirable as they can be impractical but they also provide opportunities. In this case we used it to good advantage. We created an upper level garden area which we retained at one end by a robust sleeper wall. At the other end we re-graded the bank and ran a stream through it to a shallow pebble pool and then built a stepped decking feature. This linked a lower level patio with the upper level and offered a second outdoor sitting space amongst lushly planted shrub beds.
For the families’ functional needs a clothes drying area, bark surfaced play space and summerhouse style shed were accommodated at one end of the garden away from the main garden views and sitting areas. The awkward garden shape was softened by planting and two informal lawns linked via a timber arch. Large growing shrubs and trees were included to provide privacy and conceal the huge expanse of tall fencing. Of particular note is an ornamental cherry (Prunus serrula) with a tactile shining chestnut coloured bark.
Challenges in this project revolved around the poor clay loam with even heavier clay subsoil. In order to alter the ground levels it was necessary to strip the topsoil, stockpile it, re-grade the clay subsoil then re-spread the topsoil again. We then added soil improvers to the planting areas. Not an arduous operation with the use of a mechanical digger and dumper but a lot of unseen work unapparent in the finished garden and crucial to ensure that the lawn and plantings would thrive rather than just survive.
We have kept on contact with our client who recently reflected on his garden and our service:
Having bought a new home we wanted a garden to match and chose Haywood Landscapes as we were impressed with Andrew's knowledge, ability to understand our needs and his patience ! I have to say that the garden surpassed all of our expectations. After over 10 years now I am still impressed with the overall design, quality of the build and planting plan. At any time of the year there is always something of interest to look at in the garden even in the depths of winter. Because of this we spend a lot of time in the garden, it is both peaceful and relaxing for the adults and huge fun for the children to play in. I couldn't recommend Haywoods enough, a great company to deal with.' - Tony Toms, Chestfield, Kent