Question: what do you do when commissioned by clients, one of whom is unfortunately suffering from a degenerative and incurable eye disease? Hopefully this garden design answers those questions and in doing so provides a usable and easily navigable garden space.

The build on this garden design project only finished in late December 2017 what with the weather being so bad since this was the first opportunity I have had to revisit. Although the plants may not look like much now this garden should really take off and fill with colour over the coming spring and summer months. Although the witch hazel is adding a nice burst of colour just now. The bamboo screening to the rear raised bed will be one plant that is definitely enjoying all the rain we are currently experiencing and it should pay off with good new upright stem growth over the months to come. This variety is particularly good for small gardens where planted into raised beds, or into the ground level beds, as unlike many bamboos it will not spread, run, or become invasive, as it is a well behaved clump former, Fargesia nitida a native of Szechwan, China. Further detail here, a small area to the secondary back door/utility room  seemed wasted garden space, but provided the perfect opportunity to create a screened storage are thereby making best use of the space. For a seamless look I designed a seamless screen with an inset flush door. Timbers for both the decking and screening is American yellow pine a suitable and good alternative to hardwoods which I do not use in my projects due to the destruction of rain-forests and wildlife habitat as a consequence. That said, there are some fabulous new composite products coming onto the market and one in particular which I am very excited by, more on that in my next part 2 blog post on decking in general. The sleepers used are constructed of European oak for longevity and patina and are from an FSC sustainable source. 

Texture and surface is a detail that many will take for granted or may not even be consciously aware of where as this garden it was a significant deign consideration due to one of the clients limited eyesight. To assist the client in navigating the space elements are designed with clear focus of movement, texture and level to make it easy to identity a change in either direction or material or areas hence the edging detail is a bush hammered granite whilst the main paving is a flame hammered finish. There is also a tonal shade difference between a pale grey stone and the charcoal edging stone and these details and colours chosen in consultation with the client in order to best maximise the use of her limited eyesight. Equally the garden was designed to create one uniform level running from the French doors of the house to the lawn and rear paved terrace area. The small terrace area and inset seat to the raised bed are positioned to take advantage of the late afternoon and evening sunshine. Planting is a combination of strongly textured and scented silvers grey and purples, again to make the most of a heightened sense of smell.

This project  hopefully demonstrates that a small garden in a new build house does not have to be limited as well as what can be achieved with some careful design and a good choices of material and plants.