The crumbling patio needed rebuilding and extending. The shed also needed replacing and their old fence replaced with a higher one for more privacy. With just lawn and no planting, apart from a climbing rose, there was little colour and interest in the garden. Your eye was just drawn to the shed and heap of rubble at the bottom. The clients agreed more planting would make it a more pleasant space to sit out. They were clear however, they had little time or experience for maintenance.
The patio was extended to allow more room for entertaining, with a slightly curved retaining wall. A new, higher trellis fence lends more privacy and climbers such as Clematis will eventually clothe it. A solid fence would not have allowed air through, so would be vulnerable in high winds. As the garden is so narrow, a solid fence would have felt a bit oppressive. The expanse of lawn needed breaking up and planting adding for year round interest. Stone from the old wall was used to build up a retaining wall for the bank at the bottom of the garden, then this was also planted up.
We agreed Indian sandstone would be the most affordable material that would blend with both the stone garden wall and the fabric of the house. Planting pockets in the patio provide a run off for rainwater whilst softening all the hard edges. Turf was stripped from the lawn to create staggered beds that mirror the beds in the patio. This helps tie the garden together. Planting was selected to give year round colour, and mulched afterwards. This reduces the need to weed or water. An Acer planted in the bank at the back and a Sambucus nigra (Black Elder) in front of the shed will provide focal points that detract from the shed.
The brightly contrasting planting included orange Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’, purple Eurybia (asters), Orange and lime coloured Euphorbias and bright orange Helenium. Spring bulbs- tulips and alliums -will provide early colour, fragrant clematis and jasmine will give scent in the summer and much of the planting is evergreen or semi-evergreen.
The garden really was very long and narrow and the clients didn’t want anything too elaborate, expensive or too complex to maintain.
I think there is more visual interest in the garden now and whilst the planting will need occasional weeding and cutting back, there is much less lawn to mow. The clients also opted to receive monthly emails with instructions for maintenance tasks. This means they can get more familiar and confident with the planting and its care and keep the garden looking good themselves.
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