I have just received word that this project I designed a couple of years ago is to be featured in an upcoming international book on Landscape Design. The book is to be published a little later this year and I will post a blog when it comes out. In the meantime here’s a recap on the project:
Greenfield Saddleworth Garden.
The plot is located in UK hardiness zone 8
An overgrown and somewhat dated gardens both front and back. 2 lots of steps leading to the front entrance neither of which were well constructed or inviting. Also a steep slope to the rear garden area presented a winter hazard. The back garden was somewhat run down but some very nice riven York stone slabs. Although the garden seemed to contain a very large lawn this was not in fact part of the property, but strangely enough was on loan from a property developer. In actuality the garden boundary was just to the rear of wood store area. No clearly defined boundary to the area where climbing frame was located.
The clients desired a space that had a more grown up feel and one that was more usable and acted as an extension to the home. They also wanted some form of terrace, seating area, to replace the climbing from as this spot in the garden was ideal to catch the early evening sunshine. A new wood store was also on the brief along with a new fence and gate of some description to replace the trellis fence and gate that separated the front and back garden areas. They wanted some form of usable social area close to the new contemporary glass extension they had recently had installed. The front needed to be simplified with the entryway and steps redesigned to make more easily and safety usable. They were not sure if they wanted to keep a lawn in the front garden. The clients also wanted some element of art in the space but were open to how this might be interpreted whether through a water feature or a focal piece.
From the outset my feeling were that the rear garden area lacked any sense of colour and as such was not an inviting proposition. Equally the step down from the door to outside level made the space feel that bit more awkward and detached. By designing in a deck to run level with the internal floor level I intended to make the space more accessible and the addition of raised beds allowed me to introduce colour and intimacy by making the area around the house feel more connected to the living space. The irregular hit and miss screen to the side allowed privacy without making the space feel cut off or closed in. The introduction of hazel hurdle fencing to parts of the boundary further softens and gives the gardens a more authentic and natural feel that is in keeping with its location. I also wanted to find a way to connect the side area and gate to the steps up to what was a studio. I had in mind some form of ornate iron work as this would also answer the need for a sculptural element to the garden. This was the interpretation of sculpture is integrated into the scheme as opposed to merely sitting in it, offering function form and style.
I commissioned a sculpture artisanal blacksmith I had worked with on previous projects (David Freedman) to turn the idea to a usable and functional form. The use of Asplenium leaf as panel motif was to my mind a master stroke on his part, forming the back drop to the fern/woodland garden created to the side area, between rear and front gardens.
Wanting to create a series of themes for the various spaces and seeing that the front area was never used other than to mow the patch of grass I felt this was an opportunity to create a space that paid some small homage to the langue of the local landscape in the High Peaks whilst also making it more inviting.. The concept, to create a dwarf pine dry river bed garden to include a small terrace for a table and chairs. A new lollipop boundary fence was installed and painted in a pale apple green and fore planted with Photinia Red robin to add year round colour. A variety of dwarf pines and silver foliaged plants add form colour and contour. An old chimney pot from the house was salvaged and used as a focal Point. The clients were at first sceptical of this concept not knowing how it would look but in its completion love it. On a clear sunny day it enjoys views of the peaks.
Distinctly themed garden areas that draw the user and the eyes into the space. Natural stone walls with stone copings create and intimate dining space and connect the house to the gardens. A new boundary fence demarcates the gardens and offers more privacy. Acers, alliums, lavenders roses’ and sage add colour and scent acting as a colourful backdrop to the extension whilst also adding interest and invite to the path from the front garden. Low level ferns campanula and woodland plants add low level interest to the newly formed steps and raised bed while also lightening the area from its previous overgrown state. A newly designed wood store with cedar shingle roof along with the hazel hurdle fence add to the naturalistic aesthetic whilst the sculpture fence and gate add year round interest and sense of playful spontaneity to the space.
A front dry river bed garden planted with a variety of dwarf pines, and framed with Photinia, somehow make this area feel rooted into the wider landscape seeming as it does to breach the boundary between the two.
All existing stone was integrated into the design and reused with wall stone and copings sourced from a local stone yard. Hazel hurdle was also sourced from local supplier. American yellow pines was used for all timber work offering as it does the most sustainable alternative to tropical hardwoods or tantalised softwoods.
To liaise with clients thought design process and to liaise with and commission sculpture. Liaise with landscapers and clients throughout the instillation of the project and to source supply and plant plans as per plant lists and schedules.
1 year ago, By David Keegan
I came across this preface I wrote for a book on garden structure and designs in 2013 and thought it worth reposting...
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In my work as a professional garden designer, I hear the same story time after time when I first meet with prospective...