A New Garden from an Old Estate


This newly finished garden in Berkshire was once part of a much larger Victorian garden of around 50-acres. Often the gardens of large estates sited on the edges of towns, are sold off for individual building plots as the town grows and evolves, and this was one such example. Our client had inherited a remnant part of the old formal gardens which had become overgrown and neglected. Our challenge was to ensure the, now, smaller garden still felt spacious and very much in proportion with the historic house, as if it had always been.

The approach to the house was an important element of our masterplanning. Our clients had recently acquired the old Coach House, which meant the original drive, which had previously been shared, could now be moved to allow for a more enticing approach towards the entrance of the property and to improve privacy from the road and the neighbouring properties.

Moving the drive, allowed us to plant a wildflower meadow to one side and frame the drive with an avenue of Prunus lusitanica domes designed to draw you in through the new elegant timber gates. A native Hawthorn hedge was planted along a new boundary fence, to offer a sense of rural tranquillity, as you progress.

In the main garden, we recognised the historic layout of the garden from the crumbling  stone walls and a dry, derelict pond that had young willows growing through it.  With the expert help of the landscape contractors, we managed to restore the pond (which, much to the joy of the client, is now supporting amphibian life) and used the original stone to return the old walls to their former glory, including replacement Yorkstone coping.  We also introduced a new terrace and a flight of steps from the main façade of the house so that the view from the house, over the new pond, is now symmetrical and in-keeping with the grandeur of the property.

As the garden was largely visible from the house, we created the illusion of a series of garden rooms, with distinct atmospheres. To help achieve this, we introduced different planting styles on a range of levels, each with varying light conditions, so that the garden could be enjoyed from different perspectives at separate times of the day.

To connect the main house with the old Coach House we created a pool area surrounded by Magnolias and underplanted with white Hydrangeas, making both areas feel accessible and as one, as if it had always been.

Around the old Coach House and at the end of the drive, a woodland garden was created and enlivened with Hellebores, Deschampsia and Japanese Anemones where once a sea of overgrown Rhododendrons had  stood. Our clients have really enhanced the garden with beautiful sculptures to create designed, or incidental, focal points that really bring the garden to life, particularly in the woodland garden and a shaded area bordering a neighbouring property.

Finally, for a corner of the garden, we suggested a small vegetable and cut flower garden.  Our clients were unsure how much it might be used, so it was not designed to be too large. An Alitex greenhouse was chosen as a central focus and the surrounding beds were framed in raised Oak with path-gravel used as a hardwearing surface for easy access to them. The entire plot was beautifully screened with apple espaliers trained between the Oak posts.

In recent months, our clients have become veritable vegetable experts and have very much praised our decision to encourage them towards the idea. It has provided them with a real focus within the garden and the joy of home-grown produce. It is now a much-loved space to nurture and retreat to and, in the words of our happy client; ‘an absolute godsend’.