'... images of the ash tree play out on the wall below...'
THIS garden is in Sneyd Park, within a contemporary-looking development of housing built in the 1960s, yet inspired by the Arts & Crafts ideal of the garden city movement.
The architectural style is almost Scandinavian, with its wood board cladding and large picture windows, and the owners of this unique property were trying to bring it up to date while retaining the architectural heritage, since they live in a conservation area.
Exterior landscaping had not been modified since the house was built and was in desperate need of attention. There were few planted beds within the existing garden, which predominantly consisted of a large expanse of cracked concrete paving and a neglected lawn. With children on the way, it was high time a useable, safe, family- friendly garden was created.
Therefore, the design needed to fulfil both the parents' desire for entertaining family and friends as well as giving ample space for the kids to run around and play safely.
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The garden was levelled and two separate seating areas were designed, one near the house for dining that is easily accessible from the kitchen and the other under a majestic ash tree that is up-lit at night.
A raised bed behind the tree gives a sense of enclosure to this area that is perfectly placed for barbecues and entertaining in the evening as it catches the setting sun.
Another design requirement was to tackle the large expanse of stone walls marking the boundaries.
I tried to soften their impact by rendering one wall and applying bespoke slatted trellis panels to the other in order to hide level changes that ran along its top.
I also broke up the rendered wall by incorporating clipped pleached trees to the first third of the wall, a block of yew hedging to the second third and along the final third I positioned a decked in-built seating area. The painted wall also acts as a projector screen, where images of the ash tree play out on the wall below.
The main patio, comprising two different sized limestone slabs, spans the length of the house, allowing ample room for children to spill out of the patio doors with their toys. To reduce the impact of its size, I incorporated pockets of clipped box and slate detailing within the paving design.
The majority of the planting beds are in the shade, so a variety of leaf sizes, shapes and textures were carefully positioned in different shades of green, cream and purple in order to create an oasis of calm and tranquillity.
The clipped hedging in both box and yew and the use of hornbeam espalier trees, that will eventually create a hedge on stilts, all add structure and define the various areas within the garden.
The Japanese influence, which is demonstrated in the positioning of the specimen acers, stepping stones, feature pots and pebble detailing, combined with the overall simplicity of the design are both key to its success.
For more about Katherine, call her on 07930 565 999, or visit www.katherineroper.co.uk.