The upper terrace has a commanding view across the garden to the landscape beyond

The garden before

The garden under construction with granite setts and clay bricks fully exposed

Foaming water ‘geysers’ are set to the curve of the lower patio

After three years the strong design still defines the space but is now balanced by the planting

..and the same view another two years on

Vibrant planting in the foreground frames the view from the patio doors

The upper terrace has a commanding view across the garden to the landscape beyond

Looking back to the upper terrace showing screening to provide privacy and shelter

View down to the sheltered lower terrace

The water features are lit to striking effect

Moving out into the garden the planting becomes softer

The transition from bold to restrained planting is complete and the boundary is disguised

A Striking Country Garden Design

This converted farm building was a cattle byre (or shed in plain terminology) and is set in a rural Kentish landscape. Rather than following conventional dictates of country garden design our clients wanted something more contemporary with a strong clean design and bold planting. Water was to feature in the garden but in a way that did not require a lot of maintenance. Generous areas for entertaining were a must with privacy but without losing views across the surrounding countryside.

To satisfy this brief we created a strong geometric design with the garden spaces formed on radial arcs from an axis at the house corner. To ensure this was sympathetic to the property and location we used traditional building materials - clay pavers and cropped granite setts and filled the beds around them with generous planting to soften the hard landscaping.

A large lower terrace provided a sheltered and very private sitting space. This was linked by broad steps to an upper terrace. This area has a great view of the pasture land and arable fields beyond the garden.

Planting close to the house is bold in colour and plant form but gradually softens with proximity to the garden boundaries, blending with the natural landscape beyond in line with more typical country garden design principals.

Areas to the ‘ends’ of the long garden were laid to lawn and planted with occasional ornamental trees, again aiding the transition between garden and landscape.

Good access via a 5 bar gate and good weather through the two-month build meant that this project didn’t present any challenges beyond the need for accurate setting out and building to the design, easily accommodated by our experienced team. However one element of the design did evolve somewhat on an ongoing basis beyond the initial completion. Our response to a desire for water was to install three small foaming water ‘geysers’ set to the curve around the lower patio. These issued from hidden chambers beneath the pebbled ground surface. Automated reservoir top ups meant that the clients did not need to check and refill the chambers.

The project was signed off and our clients happy. However some time later we were asked to review these features and provide something more restful in character. After being shown a variety of features our clients selected stainless steel columns. Water rose within and over-spilled down the stems to the hidden reservoirs. Job done we thought.

A year or so later we were asked back, this time to create visible pools around each column thus making the features more substantial, a tricky alteration, but ‘do-able’. The images show the various incarnations of the water features. The developing backdrop of plants gives a sense of the time passing as we returned for successive ‘re-workings’.

As designers we can sometimes get possessive and precious about our creations. This was a good reminder that it is the clients’ needs and preferences that are paramount and our job is to get it right for them.



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