The property now
The property is a detached house in a quiet village location. The area of the garden to be redeveloped is rectangular, less than 100m2 and roughly south-east facing.
The area is largely cleared but the ground is uneven and slopes away from the house and towards the neighbour’s hedge. There is also a drop in level from the neighbouring property on the south-west. An oil tank sits in one corner and there is a radial arbour with two climbers on the existing paving, which should be retained in the new design.
The main requirements were:
- an evening seating area,
- space to position a portable BBQ whilst in use,
- a wood store (approximately half the space provided by the current shed),
- to screen the oil tank (whilst allowing for access and maintenance), and
- gravel paths through planting to create a pleasant view from the conservatory.
It was important for the new area to merge seamlessly with the rest of the garden but the client didn’t want to lift the existing paving.
The proposed garden layout
The new design is based on a series of overlapping rectangles.
A new fence along the back of the garden screens off the neighbour’s conifer hedge which is in poor condition. The fence extends around the oil tank with a gate for access. Approximately 1m gap is left at the end of the oil tank for fillling and maintenance. This space will house the BBQ when not in use. The fence will be painted a dark colour (e.g. dark grey or black) to highlight the planting in front. It could also support a relief or piece of art in a bright colour tied to the colour of the planting.
A raised bed at the back of the garden reduces the dominance of the new fence and creates additional soil depth in the part of the garden most affected by roots. Part of the raised bed is higher and creates a back to a built-in bench. A second raised bed is positioned opposite the bench. A third raised bed retains the soil at the edge of the garden.
A wood store is built in to the fence around the oil tank. Wood could also be stored under the bench (on a slatted support to keep it off the ground).
A space is provided for the BBQ when in use, which allows the chef to continue to participate in conversation. It is conveniently located near the storage position. There is ample space to move past the BBQ when in use.
The existing pergola/arbour is retained. The existing patio is reduced slightly to create border areas that allow the existing climbers to be planted in the ground. This also helps to integrate the new garden with the patio.
A new seating area positioned to catch the evening sun is large enough for a bistro table and two chairs. A gravel path winds through the space, linking the new garden to the existing patio and lawn. Sett detailing links the areas together and highlights the pattern of repeating squares.