This sloping site in a town garden was, in essence, a huge 20 x 20m raised bed of soil, with retaining walls on two sides. There was an existing shed and greenhouse which were to stay, an old fruit-cage which was very much beyond saving and two mature apple trees that badly needed a prune. Apart from that it was soil, soil, and more soil.
The clients had just bought the property, primarily to give them more space to grow food, but were nevertheless daunted by the scale of the plot. We were also asked to visually improve this area, as it’s the main approach to the house. Winter in particular was a very dreary affair, with metre after metre of bare soil, so we needed to provide interest that would remain when the vegetables had gone.
The shape of the beds are the defining feature of the space. Concentric circles in the middle make way for more orthodox straight lines further out. This creates some fabulously shaped beds, as well as vistas across the site, and from the house windows.
Structure plays an important role, with arches, furniture and evergreen planting taking centre stage for much of the year. Once established, box hedges will provide fresh green lines near the house, and will emphasise the varied shapes of some of the beds; whilst evergreens such as lavender, rosemary and a selection of thymes will provide summer scent and colour.
A small meadow under the apple trees adds wildlife value, as does the stunning pond in the heart of the garden, with its rusty overlapping metal edge. The same metal has been used to edge the beds, and the warm orangey tones contrast beautifully with the vibrant greens of the plants. In the depths of the winter these striking lines, combined with low box hedging, and the odd winter vegetable should do much to lift the spirits.