This garden was an undertaking – the last house to be finished in an exclusive development of 5 premium properties, the entire site (including where the house is now standing) was, for some considerable amount of time, used as the builder’s yard for the other 4 houses. This meant the ground was incredibly heavily compacted and full of surprises: hundreds of roof tiles, more wall ties than I could count and a considerable number of food wrappers. Still, I worked very hard to deliver the best result possible for my valued clients and hopefully the photos above indicate what a healthy, lush environment was created from such humble beginnings.

The site had been the builder’s yard for the small development of new houses and then left to just about start growing some weeds before work was started – the project began not very long at all after the customers moved in, the majority of the planning having gone on whilst the house was being constructed. There were no walls on the first site visit!

I worked for a long time with my clients to finalise the design so that every detail was decided before any diggers were on site. The only access was through the fence adjacent to the driveway so the entire scheme was worked on in sections, starting at the pond and ‘painting ourselves out of the room’ by then working sequentially all the way along the porcelain patio, round via the raised bed kitchen garden and then out by completing the limestone patio – it sounds so simple…

The build was relatively long and complex with much of the work and expense going into ground improvement. Over 80 tonnes of material was taken off site with around 115 tonnes of new material brought in. Once it came to planting over 1,100 perennials, shrubs and trees went in the ground and all in all around 1,100 man hours were spent working on the project.

Premium materials were used throughout the build here, with the paving materials and sculptures coming from the great team at Foras. The two patios are constructed using a wood effect porcelain and mixed size Egyptian smooth limestone respectively, with limestone setts edging the stabilised gravel paths. The naturalistic wildlife pond is bridged by a modern, low-profile composite deck and the raised beds are constructed using green oak. Talking of green oak…

My standout feature

My personal favourite feature from this garden is actually one that melts into the background but was incredibly high input, constructed from beautiful materials and should certainly stand the test of time.

Down two sides of the garden runs this beautiful, completely bespoke green oak batten screen. Each batten is rebated into the 6″ oak posts and then glued and dowelled for a much more traditional, hand-crafted take on the very popular contemporary cedar slatted fencing that is quite popular at the moment. The hope is that by accentuating the hand-made feel of the screen and in using a very traditional material (which will silver with age and become one with the surrounding plants as they grow and wend their way through the slats) the screen will be a timeless part of the garden. On finishing construction it immediately felt so much more than simply a boundary. It might not be the flashiest part of the garden, or perhaps even one that every visitor will notice, but for me it was a complete labour of love in an already labour-of-love kind of project, and I don’t think I’m ever happier than when I come home smelling of oak sawdust.

Please see the gallery below for the making of