On the edge of the country
A great view often means that your garden is quite exposed to wind which it is important to consider when planting. This is the main reason that Amanda and David called me to look at their garden which backs on to paddocks and more fields not far from the coast. The windy conditions where easily read from the trees growing slightly on a lean.
There were some Phormiums growing at the back of a narrow border as few of which my clients wanted to keep and they were keen to have a beach area, using up some existing pebbles. We added larger pebbles to the group so as to separate the beach from the borders. During our consultations a curving garden design developed to leave a pleasant and interesting lawn shape.
The soil was the typical clay and heavy loam so I included some areas where the soil level sloped up behind sleepers set on end and tied together in a curve, a variation on a technique we had used before. This allows plants which need good drainage such as Iris germanica ‘Bold Print’, to grow well.
We also used some quite large shrubs such as the purple hazel, Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’ and Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’. Several trees and a raised bed where placed to shelter a small grass seating area which also sheltered a long raised bed for produce growing.
David and Amanda liked contrasting arrangements, so I used quite bright plants which would be tough and reliable. The white stemmed Birch Betula utilis ‘Jaquemontii’ has Black Grass Ophiopogon planiscarpus ‘Nigrescens’ and bright yellow Trollius planted around it. There are Echinacea purpurea in both white and mauve forms to add more vivid but stylish contrast.
The beach area has a couple of die hard coastal plants placed in it; Sea Kale, Crambe maritima and Euphorbia myrsinites. There are also some Ponytail Grasses, Nassella tenuissima, dotted around the garden.
On the left of the garden the borders have a few more woodland plants in and a feeling that you have left the beach behind and moved inland. Having hidden the compost heaps and rejuvenated a few existing plants the garden grew away quickly with the tougher plants doing their job of breaking the wind.