Completed over a period of 18 months.
A total design and build with no existing landscape features.
This project included:
design and installation of a porcelain patio with a short flight of steps
design and installation of two water features
design and installation of several large herbaceous borders
extension to the Kitchen garden including fruit trees and bespoke compost bins
earth sculpting to create 'land art' with a wildflower meadow
connecting the garden with the countryside beyond
All landscape design, planting design and construction carried out by our in-house Designers and Landscaper Craftsmen.
External specialists consulted; a bespoke estate fencing specialist - hand made in Britain.
Notes: Scroll down for more images and a description of the garden. Photos and videos seem to work best of a laptop or PC, or you can double-tap to view a larger image on mobile.
A Modern Barn Conversion
This new build, barn conversion-style property was one of just two high-end, executive homes built on a rural village edge.
The land had previously been a farmyard and green field so there was little to no existing landscaping around the property, except for an 'instant' Yew hedge that had already been installed along the boundary between the two properties.
A few minor challenges presented themselves; an old farm yard required excavating, along with the builders rubble that had been buried around the garden. The poor-quality clay soil was prone to minor water-logging and required the borders to be mounded with imported topsoil to improve drainage and growing conditions.
(Having worked at over a dozen farm houses, our designers were anticipating a range of 'unknown' subterranean features such as buried cables, water pipes, land drains, and "bulldozed and buried" outbuildings or rubbish middens.
In our time, we've even discovered whole buried grain silos, 60ft deep water wells - one was 'protected' by a single loose flagstone; a 20ft deep Victorian brick-lined underground water reservoir that no-one knew about, horses that had been laid to rest, and hand grenades... Nothing we couldn't deal with.
Luckily, this property presented no such issues!)
The property benefited from spectacular views across the surrounding countryside. Replacing the boundary fence with a lamb-proof estate fence, and a field gate focal point, incorporated the wider views into the garden.
The term 'borrowed landscape' refers to the act of using the wider scenery to influence or improve your gardens' setting, and can be traced back to 17th Century China.
It was a favourite technique of the 'original' Landscape Architects of the 1700s, such as Lancelot 'Capability' Brown or Humphry Repton, who would move whole villages or water courses to improve the wider view from a country estate, and then delineate the garden boundary with a simple Ha-Ha or line of translucent estate fencing.
The glass and oak 'Garden Room' (see right of photograph above) was connected to the main house with a 'shattered edge' porcelain tile path that disguised the slope down to the glass doorway. Porcelain paving has excellent slip-resistant properties, so was our first choice of paving for this north-facing, sloped path. The colour of the paving perfectly complimented the interior stone floor of the kitchen and family room, and was also used to tile the floor of the Garden Room.
The garden was quite long and thin in shape, being an average of 15m wide (49ft) and 70m long (230ft), so Hilary created a flowing route around the garden with a series of well defined curved borders and island beds.
Inspiration for the shapes of the borders was taken from the unusual, winding ancient hedgerow seen in the distance and, when seen from the upper windows of the house, delightfully ties the garden in with the wider countryside.
Our client enjoyed the concept of water in the garden, but disliked deep water. We suggested a shallow reflection pool as it would give the quality of still water without the safety risk. This pool was only about 1 foot (30cm) deep, and lined with dark pebbles to enhance the reflection.
However, shallow water can be problematic to manage due to it's tendency to heat up and deoxygenate more quickly than deeper pools, so we provided our client with maintenance advice to prevent algae growth. Steve designed this pool with a hidden filtration system and pump to improve the water quality and maintain a crystal clear reflection.
Ease of Access
The property belonged to a retired lady who required easy routes around the garden:
Shallow steps from the house to the reflection pool terrace gave easy access from the kitchen.
Dedicated, sturdy maintenance paths along the backs of the borders facilitate easier gardening or hedge-trimming.
Stone sets laid on mortar defined the border edge; preventing damage to the lawn and giving a dry route ‘rabbit track’ to the end of the garden in wet weather.
Our client asked for year-round colour, so Hilary chose a variety of plants that would perform at different times of year.
Trees were strategically placed to improve privacy in the many seating areas in the garden, as they could be seen from the neighbours' upstairs balcony.
Dwarf or shorter-growing plants were chosen for borders in the middle of the garden in order to maximise the view from the house out over the garden an across to the wider fields.
The planting themes blended through the garden, but started and finished in two distinct styles. Plants closer to the house were more formal in nature, such as scented David Austin roses with a low Box hedge edging. But towards the fields, the planting palette became looser and more 'wild', with plants such as dwarf willows and white umbel flowers. The garden terminated in a wild flower meadow and grassed earth tump for grandchildren to run around on.
Envisage have extensive experience of designing and building beautiful legacy landscapes for heritage properties, including kitchen- and cutting gardens. We can even source and plant your fruits, vegetables and flowers for you, to ensure you have a the perfect selection of produce.
Hilary and Stephen have both held positions in the past as Junior Scientific Officers, including research programs at Long Ashton Research Station, and the National Fruit Trials, Brogdale. They are happy to advise you on the correct cultivation of your crops to maximize yield and prevent disease.
Charlie is an experienced landscape architect and has worked on a variety of sites from under an acre to 20+ acres in size including Private Estates, Arboretums, Wildlife Parks, and Natural Burial Grounds.
A combination of our in-house experience means that we are able to tackle the unique situations that can arise when designing, constructing or restoring larger properties.
Contact us if you would like to discuss your project.