I wanted to share one of our latest design projects with you, and explain a bit about our design decisions and how we have used different materials and planting beds to create a really exciting and stylish space.

Our clients have undertaken a major renovation and extension of their property, creating a fabulous family home with a multi-use living space including a large open plan kitchen, dining and living room leading to a separate cinema room in the centre of the house. From the dining area there are two super-sized single frame patio doors leading to the garden, effectively creating a framed view of the outside space. Therefore the new garden design really needed to bring the wow factor as well as reflect the modern but relaxed style of the interiors.

The garden already has a mature woodland feel especially towards the end of the garden where there are several large trees in neighbouring gardens, including several oaks along the rear boundary. It is south-west facing which means that the area closest to the house is in full sun for much of the day, so we wanted to maximise this whilst also creating a space to sit in some shade when needed, especially important with our changing climate and increasingly warm summers.

The main aspect of brief was to design a large multi use patio close to the house, making the most of the sun and the picture-frame view from the large patio doors, but also to create a partially shaded area in which to enjoy lunchtime and evening meals. One half of our client is a professional carpenter, so we needed to incorporate a space for a large carpentry workshop at the end of the garden and a solid path all the way down the garden to the new workshop. Another key aspect of the brief was to include lots of planting for pollinators and other wildlife, and to retain a relaxed and more naturalistic feel to the planting – which as you may already know is right up our street!!

Our clients had already chosen a 1m x 0.5m porcelain paver, but recognised that this needed to be broken up by the introduction of another complimentary material. We have used small format Belgian clay pavers to break up what would have otherwise been a huge expanse of paving, and to zone the patio into gently defined areas, making it feel much more interesting and creating pathways as well as a ‘rug’ area between two sofas which can have both a coffee table and fire bowl interchangeably placed on it.

We have also included lots of planting beds to help create zones and to soften the hard landscaping. A rectangular water feature will sit within one of the beds, between the main patio and the second patio/dining area. The gentle rippling of the water will be enjoyed from the sofa seating area as well as the dining space. Along with our carpenter client, we have designed a large pergola to frame and provide shade for the dining space. The timber pergola will also provide a structure for lots of climbers to soften the hard edges and create a tranquil and green space in which to enjoy meals.

The steps from the house lead onto a clay paver path which also zones the main patio into two areas. The area on the right is a multi-use space for either relaxing in a modern-style rocking chair or wheeling out the table tennis table for some active fun! The clay paver pathway extends through planting beds, passing the water feature on the left, and leads to second patio area for dining and a small kitchen/BBQ. Surrounded by shade loving plants on one side, sun loving on the other and with the slatted pergola roof overhead to allow climbers to be trained over the top of it, this will in time be a beautifully ensconced dining area.

 

We knew it would be a challenge to include a practical but aesthetically pleasing path the whole way down the garden to the workshop. We have made this more interesting to this by designing a slight change of direction as you progress down the path and offering a wider planting space in one section alongside the path. The addition of three rows of clay pavers to edge the path makes a feature of the hard landscaping instead of it becoming purely functional. We have also included a trio of archways over the path in two locations, adding a different dimension to pathway and creating interest and opportunity for lots of climbers.

 

Further down the garden we are including a bench amongst planting to enjoy a morning cuppa, with a new mutlistem tree and Beech hedge behind it to partially screen the large trampoline. Our client also intends to build a swing frame in the shady woodland feeling area on the left hand side, for kids and adults alike to enjoy!

The planting style will be quite soft and naturalistic with lots of pretty grasses and perennials – our trademark purple will feature strongly as always, and there will be pops of orange and some deep pinky-red flowering perennials too. Plants will be woven rather that planted en-masse, to create a more naturalistic feel, and the beds will be alive with pollinators. In the shady areas there will be lots of lush green and pretty flowering shade loving species.

The build of this garden is well underway and the hard landscaping is really taking shape. Planting will begin at the end of March/early April – we can’t wait to share some photos soon!