Shake off the blues in the cool outdoors
MANY of the gardens we design in Bristol are for Victorian properties. They tend to be small, as the Victorians used public parks more than gardens for their leisure, but today we place more value on the space behind our houses, however small.
Indeed, a room-sized garden can be converted into an intimate outdoor space, which can be enjoyed most of the year.
In this garden, a garage had been added to the rear, which reduced the size even further, so we were dealing with a space smaller than the average living room! Designing for small spaces is a challenge. We decided to raise the planting beds and add colour as a way of brightening the limited space.
Our customer had already been thinking about possible designs, and had some ideas. We liked his suggestions and incorporated them into a cohesive design. We presented a 3D plan, which included three blue box planters against the north-facing wall.
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Between these, we fitted two oak sleeper bench seats. Adding occasional seating in a small garden makes it an inviting place to pop out for a quick coffee on dry days. By raising the planting on this shady side of the garden, the plants will also get more light.
Any kind of lawn was ruled out and a circular patio was proposed. The circle is dissected by a deck path, which leads from the side gate. This path runs along the central axis of the three blue planters, the symmetry helping to tie these three elements together.
In the sunny rear corner of the garden, a rendered planter curves around the perimeter of the circle. Set into this feature is a small oak seat, which turns the planter into a garden sofa, and acts as a relaxed foil to the more formal layout of the rest of the space.
A pergola frames the entrance to the garden and divides the main garden from the side alley. This pergola continues across the back of the house, helping to break up the plain, rendered facade.
Grey stepping stones lead through chipped Cotswold stone gravel to the rear garage door. These square grey stones have been purposely cut where they meet the patio to help emphasise the circular theme.
Our customer also had a collection of decorative Turkish tiles, and wanted to include these in the plan. We chose to set some tiles into plain white render either side of the garden gate. We also included a carved stone decoration mounted on a terracotta wall, and framed by a simple garden trellis.
Colour plays an important role in this garden. With blue and terracotta setting the theme and combining well with the various greens of the planting, the colours help to transform a drab back yard into a cheerful outdoor room.
Contact Tom Phillips on 0117 951 1923, or 07739456765, or see www.allgardendesigns.co.uk.