J&D contacted me in September 2016 to smarten up their rather unloved back garden. The back of the house had undergone some repairs and had been re-rendered. Now the garden needed some serious attention.
As regular hosts who love throwing large parties the first priority was to create a substantial terrace. The current one was very uneven and the step out from the kitchen-diner was a little precarious.
J&D wanted to keep a large lawn as long as it was easier to maintain. And J in particular wanted a large shed to keep all her baking and party equipment in, and a water feature made out of rock, and space to grow fruit and vegetables. There didn’t need to be lots of colour as long as the planting was green and textural.
As the garden is large it was decided to build it in two parts. The terrace, made with a beautiful silver grey granite, was built in 2017. A new and wider step makes the access into the house much easier and safer and a rock water feature was placed to one side. A gentle trickle makes an attractive soundscape for a morning coffee.
The rest of the back garden was a much larger job and started in the summer of 2018.
Almost everything in the garden was cleared out - two old sheds, a dying apple tree, masses of concrete and a couple of low brick walls. A few established shrubs and a cherished Cordyline were kept, along with the row of lime trees on the rear boundary.
Once the clearance was complete the setting out began. A large elliptical lawn edged with granite sets was designed to show off J’s two Lutyens benches and that Cordyline.
A new, much larger, shed was installed and, along with all the fences, painted black. This helps make the shed disappear into the shadows as well as make the plants really stand out.
A paved area outside the shed door makes access easy. Although the build was nearly finished and the lawn area prepped for new turf the hottest, driest summer since who knows when meant it was not worth putting it in. J&D would have spent weeks watering it everyday to keep it alive. So we decided to wait until the weather improved (or worsened, depending on your point of view..).
The planting was done in October, followed shortly by the lawn. As most of the plants were pretty small there wasn’t too much to look at until the spring of 2019.
Most of the evergreens and shrubs that have been planted are quite small. It will take some time for them to mature. In the meantime the perennials will fill the gaps with some interest.
The small G&T terrace gets the last of the sun and is perfect for a last minute read-through before the show’s opening night.
I’m looking forward to see how this garden develops (also to one or two parties..).