In the spring of 2015 we were commissioned to design and help create this Oxfordshire garden around a newly refurbished house with no established garden.
We remodelled the drive and approach to the house to increase privacy from the road and neighbouring properties. We used native wildflowers and hedging to create a more relaxed entrance that blended with the rural country lane.
The design included better provision for parking, encouraging cars to park away from the front facade of the house, leaving the front door defined as you approach. The link to the countryside remained an important aspect of this project, allowing glimpses through to the landscape beyond the garden, encouraging further exploration.
A textural combination of planting surrounds the house on three sides, with a mix of colours, foliage and forms, providing a soft romantic tapestry of interest, leading the eye beyond the garden to the wonderful rural views.
The main terrace was shaded by a pergola upon which the client had grown Wisteria, the ultimate aim to provide a shady seating area on the south side of the house. We surrounded the terrace with Mediterranean style planting, including Lavender and herbs, within easy access of the kitchen for culinary use.
Our clients were keen not to have an overly formal garden and wanted to relate the planting to the countryside surrounding the property. This was achieved through a combination of soft ornamental grasses and mixed perennial planting in blues, pinks, purples and whites.
From the main terrace one steps out onto an organically shaped lawn designed to blend seamlessly into the countryside beyond, as our clients were keen to blur the boundaries between the garden and landscape.
To allow easy access on wet winter days, one can walk along a gravel path hidden amongst the generous borders, to reach a circular seating area and fire bowl nestled into the planting. Like many areas of the garden, the fire bowl area benefits from lovely views, a wonderful place to sit in the evening and prolong time spent within the garden. Topiary balls are scattered through out the soft planting, so that when the perennials die down in winter, an evergreen structure emerges out of the border, to provide a different dimension of interest.
A pathway leads from the fire bowl to a play area, with a stilted tree house, trampoline and climbing frame. This was partially screened from view with new mature tree and shrub planting, making it a fun and adventurous area for children, whist ensuring the structures within this area do not dominate views from the house and garden.
A productive garden, with raised vegetable beds and an Alitex greenhouse, has become a much-used area of the garden. Our clients have made good use of the productive garden, growing much of their own produce and cut flowers.
A large paddock stretches out away from the house where we introduced orchard trees and a wildflower meadow to encourage more wildlife. Mown paths create a sense of journey through the area to take advantage of the beautiful views.
Additionally, new ‘Parkland’ trees were planted to frame views and add more depth to what had previously been a flat, open expanse of grass. New native hedges were planted along boundary fences to enhance the English landscape aesthetic.
We also accommodated a new tennis court into the design, which was sunken below surrounding levels, making it easier to screen from the house with the additional use of shrub planting.
It was delightful to see the garden now that it has established into the surrounding landscape. Possibly the most gratifying part of our job is to see how much our clients use and enjoy their gardens long after we have left and the work is done. It was lovely to see how engaged with the garden these clients are and we look forward to visiting again in the future to see how it develops over time.