Published by David Keegan 1 year ago
The Bramhall Stockport Garden
Another busy year and some more fantastic designs realised. This project a family garden in Bramhall Stockport was pretty much a blank canvas, well maybe apart from an old unused double garage which bizarrely had been built to the rear of the garden with the doors looking back to the house. Not only was it poorly built and ugly but it also ate into probably a good third of the garden, valuable space that my designs looked to reclaim in a creative and playful way. To start with let’s talk about the house, as the interiors of every project will to a large degree influence the direction of the design travel with every garden design.
This one is the ultimate in bang up to the minute scandi chic. It also had the most wonderful picture window bang slap in the middle of a clear view to the back garden This window and its aspect was a definite influence on my design approach along with the ultra uber interiors. To the side of the house double doors led to a dark unloved step down side return area. But here’s the thing about designing gardens, there is no such thing as an unusable space. My soloution this is where the garden begins with the introduction of a level access deck using Millboard, the only composite decking I use in my designs for 3 reasons. First, it looks like real wood, 2 its manufactured in the UK and 3 being a good quality composite its virtually maintenance free and as such easily cleaner with a brush or mop much like your inside floors. It may not be cheap but more than pays for itself with years of maintenance free use, and of course will not fade in the sun either.
Onto the main garden and its design. Couple of simple rules to designing any outdoor space regardless of size a sense of discovery surprise and the use of good visual focal points whether they be a piece of sculpture, a tree, or the framing of a distant view. My other shift is to the use of porcelain paving something I resisted for many years due to the poor surface details of what was available. It is now possible to source very good quality porcelain most usually manufactured in Italy and give the Italians know a thing or too about porcelain. Although I’m a huge fan of natural stone I reality give most of the UK climate it just requires too much maintenance and that time spent is time not spent enjoying your garden. Speaking of which the designs for the main space. The garden design features 3 distinct zones around the house a ne terrace is framed with the addition of raised beds constructed of new oak sleepers. A pergola fitted between the raised beds is the perfect spot for a family dining table connecting the courtyard to the lawn whilst slos reinforcing the distinctly deigned zones within the garden. This then leads to the main lawn in the garden with the addition of further raised beds with inset seats. To the rear of the garden and screened by the use of sculptural gabion baskets is a kids play garden top dressed with bark chip. When asked Hamish the client’s young son what his favourite part of the garden he immediately replied, the gabions. Framed in millboard they are a safe climbing and jumping frame adding an important element of play to the overall designs. Planting in this garden is very much centred around the Mediterranean style of interactive planting i.e., what I like to call a grazing garden. In a grazing garden plant are chosen not only for ornamental merit but for their usefulness and productivity hence the use of fruit trees from apple to pear to fig, whilst lower down I have used a wide variety of culinary herbs which also have a strong ornamental value think rosemary lavender many varieties of thyme fennel and sage to name but a few. One of my very favourite plants to use though in a grazing garden is wild strawberry and for those who have not tried it once will be enough to have you hooked. Although much smaller in fact tiny berries they more than make up for the lack of size with their sheer punch of flavour.
Dropping by this its first summer to see how it was progressing I was delighted when Fay told me she was eating figs that were the size of apples. In fact, she also left one on the tree for me to see pic below. This is garden that will fill out and mature over the coming years whilst adding he value to the amenity of family life.
A few pics of the garden as first viewed.