revamped and replanted garden
The garden my clients inherited was a terraced gravel garden with mature specimen trees and quite a few dead or dying ones. It wasn’t user -friendly for them or their six year old daughter and wasn’t very wildlife friendly either. We discovered suspected honey fungus, which would explain the dying trees, so these and surrounding soil had to be removed and the ground left bare for some months so any remaining fungus would have nothing to feed off.
Their vision for the garden was one with some lawn, a wildlife pond and more diverse planting. They wanted it to join up better so their daughter could wander through it. They also wanted a shady area to sit in.
We decided that it would be too big a job to remove the terracing altogether, so agreed to remove the gravel and turn the top terrace into lawn and the lower one into a more graded area with mixed planting and a smaller lawn and pond. There was a sort of rockery alongside the entrance path that didn’t really work, so we used the stone to build up a retaining wall there.
After removal of gravel, paving, dead trees and shrubs and others that just didn’t suit the space, we had a much more open area to work with.
The idea of the design was to link the different parts of the garden together into a more continuous loop, with different vistas and moods being revealed as you changed direction. I wanted to create a winding path around the large shrubs in a dead-end area that would connect a side path with the wildlife pond. We sited a bench in the shade here overlooking the pond.
Planting in this area had a woodland shade theme, gradually leading into a more floriferous hot border alongside a wall. The airy grasses, Verbena bonariensis and taller flowering plants here soften the look of the wall and provide a warning of the drop from the terrace above.
The presence of honey fungus meant that replacement planting had to be resistant or at least not susceptible to it. There is a palm tree that doesn’t really fit with the general feel of the garden, but it screens the house from the road, so we agreed to leave it until other shrubs and trees grow up to provide the screening.
The garden now has a totally different feel to it and has proved to be much more diverse in wildlife. Their daughter especially likes the pond.
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