Traditional Garden Across Bank

Traditional Garden Pond

Traditional Garden Seating Area

Traditional Garden View

Traditional Garden Lower Lawn

Traditional Garden Patio edge

Traditional Garden Patio Steps

Traditional Garden Patio

Traditional Garden Pergola and Pond

Traditional Garden Pergola

Traditional Garden Lower Lawn

The Garden ‘Pre-Transformation’

A traditional country garden

Making the most of the natural beauty of the Kent countryside, a traditional country garden should reflect its outlying landscape character.

Lending itself to a free-flowing, informal planting scheme, the more traditional rural landscape design will often feature wildflowers, natural water, some kitchen and cottage garden elements and softer themes.

Our client's home, an oak-framed 17th Century house, opened to garden views across the County’s blackcurrant fields, deep within the beautiful rolling Kent countryside. In a hamlet between Canterbury and Faversham, the house itself is typical of its historical character; timbers, Kent peg tiles and old English red brick.

The garden itself was a plain expanse of lawn, with scant personality, contrast or feature, and an outdoor space upon which the homeowner had long wished to bestow some landscape love. After an internet search for “Kent garden designer”, the client found the Haywood Landscapes website. Impressed by the portfolio and the clarity and professionalism demonstrated in past projects and testimonials, we discussed their brief over the phone.

“We felt there was a 'good fit' and Andy had an understanding of what we were looking for. He was able to interpret our brief which included hidden garden areas, a natural pond and water cascade and seating areas, along with year round colour and textural interest.”

The garden was relatively untouched since the homeowners had moved in some years earlier and lacked cohesion and forethought. A single open space, laid to lawn, old hedges, an informal orchard and a few tired garden features detracted from views of the surrounding countryside. The nearby dual carriageway noise was also a landscape consideration.

Listening, interpreting and translating a garden brief

Always of utmost importance, we absorbed the client’s brief and translated this into a potential design, plan and programme that would fit within the client’s budget and intentions. Importance was placed on using a “natural and traditional” palette of plants and materials in keeping with the locality and landscape character.

Continuing to work closely with the homeowner, we made careful and considered material and supplier selections. The fit and finish of every element was vital, and the Haywoods team coped with an exceptional combination of UK weather conditions from flash flooding to unseasonably hot and dry periods.

With close attention to the original brief, we created the hard landscaping elements and features of the garden including:

a pond with rock cascade to mask and distract from traffic noise

a renovation of the existing rustic pergola

a redesigned patio repurposing the existing York stone

A soft and informal planting palette

As is customary in a traditional country garden, we formed distinct garden areas allowing for the continuity of the softer themes in the planting plan. With generous planting, section by section, the carefully considered plant list included Knautia macedonica, Penstemon 'White Bedder' and Monarda 'Croftway Pink' for colour, for form and foliage: Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii' and Cotinus coggygria 'Grace'. Waterside planting included Iris Sibirica Caesars Brother, Astilbe x arendsii 'Bressingham Beauty' and Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Alba'.

The planting journey sought to draw the eye through the design itself as well as towards its rural vistas beyond.

A levelled ornamental lawn was formed at the apron of the garden and a large vegetable plot was prepared, emphasising the kitchen and cottage garden essence.

An idyllic countryside landscape

Delivering the design intent and translating the homeowners fantasy to reality, our Haywood Landscapes team were keen to both reflect the landscape character and match the customer’s wishes.

“We did not fully appreciate how a professional garden design could bring us such ever-changing beauty every day. Neighbours and passers-by often stop to admire the garden, wanting to talk about our experience, taking photos and asking who created it. Whilst we would love to take the credit, it is clearly Andy’s vision, design and supportive team who must take the applause!”

The softly terraced garden has steps that link the changing levels from patio to lower lawn; from lower lawn to shaded pond side dining area; through a crescent-shaped bank of planting towards its countryside horizon.

Meandering paths guide through the wildflower area and mixed native hedging adds an important element of screening from the public footpath and neighbouring views. A traditional open stock fence provides both boundary and clear views, planted in a free and open style.

Designer and Project Manager Andy Wiggins said: “This was quite a challenging project, dealing with everything the English weather could throw at us over three months or so, but so rewarding for myself and the team on-site to have created such an idyllic space that sits so well in its rural surroundings”.

In summary: A beautiful Kent country garden

Interpreting the customer brief

Reflecting the landscape character

Maximising countryside views

Deflecting and masking traffic noise

A soft planting palette

Wildflower and mixed native hedging

Ornamental lawn and planting palette

Patio and pergola

Water features and cascade

We are lucky to live in a wonderful 17th Century house sitting in one of the hamlets between Canterbury and Faversham.

The house is a mixture of local building materials including Oak timber frame, Kent peg tiles and old English brickwork.
In the past our house had been two or maybe even three cottages probably used to accommodate farm workers who worked the hop and fruit fields that surround us. The natural beauty of this environment and our historic home are a pleasure to enjoy but sadly our garden was not. We both enjoy gardening but the limits of our skill is cutting the grass and keeping the outside areas tidy and we did not understand or fully appreciate how we could design a garden that would bring us changing beauty every day.

We were keen to use a local firm and we found Haywood Landscapes via their website. After a brief discussion over the phone we felt that there was a 'good fit' and Andy had an understanding of what we were looking for.

We were pleased that Andy was able to interpret our brief which included hidden garden areas, a natural pond and water cascade and seating areas, along with year round colour and textural interest. He transformed our brief and some of his own ideas into a finished garden that has surpassed our expectations. We particularly wanted a natural and traditional palette of materials that suited the local vernacular. This was accomplished through some careful and considered choices as well as the expert skill of the site team who respected the fit and finish of everything they built, installed and planted.

Andy and his team worked through the worst and best of UK weather from floods to snow to an unseasonably hot and dry spring. There didn't appear to be any problem or issue thrown at the team that they could not resolve quickly and without fuss.

Our garden borders onto farmland with a public path that runs nearby. Both our neighbours and ramblers walking by were treated to the ever changing garden transformation before them. Now that it is completed they often stop to admire what they can see, talk to us about our experience, take pics and ask us “who did all of this”? We would like to say it was us!, but clearly Andy’s vision and design supported by his on site team take all the credit.

We firmly believe that we are custodians of the landscape that Andy has helped create and we love to share our small oasis in Kent with those lucky enough to wander by!

- Simon & Louise Blackshaw



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