A sailors home port

Victoria lived in a bijoux cottage in the harbour town of Emsworth. The back garden was really quite small and the gravel which had been put down for low maintenance several years before was cultivating its own soil beneath it and plenty of weeds, as it will over time.

She asked for raised beds so that gardening would involve less kneeling or bending to ground level and was keen on the idea of decking. She loved sailing and sailed often. There was also an Adirondack chair which she loved in the garden, made from cedar. Sometimes a coastal influence for a garden means the beach specifically, but this this time we were going offshore.

Home Port detail

I made three draft plans for the garden, but I was not at all surprised that she went straight for the one with long sweeping curves and decking based on more circular arcs.

Even so, the other drafts flagged up a few points for discussion. Some nautical influence was part of her brief and by building the seeping curves of the raised beds with rendered block work painted white we created an impression of billowing sails. She also wanted lighting and we incorporated ‘porthole like’ lights into the walls of the bed.

Home Port detail

I found cedar decking that was quite narrow, and having it running both across and along the garden made the area look both longer and wider. This was further accentuated by lots of horizontals from the battens set around most of the garden. Although it is a lot of work, we painted these battens a very calming shade of green appropriately called ‘Sea Grass.’

To really enforce the optical illusions already created, I placed the posts to which the battens are fixed closer to one another the further they go down the garden. Your experience tells you that they must be equally spaced,  as usual, so when you look down the garden, your mind tells you that is much longer than it really is. The curves and the fact that decking is usually much wider also draw out this effect.

Because space was so limited in this garden, some seating is incorporated into the top of the raised beds and the decking that comes up to the house is almost the whole width of the house.

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