Adding Colour To A Blank Canvas
Peter and Linda bought a large, well appointed newly built house on the edge of Chichester which had everything already done. The garden was a fairly blank space though, affording them the opportunity to put some more of themselves into their living space. Apart from blank fences the main issue was that the lawn carried on as far as it could and then had to give in to a large drop in level, meaning that there was 45 degree slope (well…precipice!) at the end of the garden. This area also had some mature trees which needed to be considered and a lack of screening from neighbouring properties which could look up from their position lower down.
They wanted an oak pergola to be included and, with a growing family, the open lawn space was wanted for badminton games and the like. Linda also wanted raised beds for growing some home produce and some fruit trees.
Whilst we were working together on the design we got on with addressing the trees and deciding which we wanted to keep and which ones needed to go. Then, a scaled plan and a schedule of a few new trees that we wanted to add was submitted to the planning office.
On a new build, a tree protection plan that shows all the trees to be retained on the site will very likely have been submitted before the building project will be allowed to take place. This was the case here and so some of our request was a variation on what had been agreed by the developers. As we were adding a few more trees than we were removing and doing things by the correct route there was no problem with our proposals. The replacement evergreen trees helped with screening and some Eleagnus, used around the garden, was relocated to this area.
With a problem like the slope in this garden there are two basic ways to go with a design:
One: conceal or remove the issue so that it looks like it was never there or, two: embrace it and make into a positive feature of the space.
With changes in level the second option is most likely to be the best in a garden space.
So, I designed a circular route around the garden, with a circular seating area near the far left corner, complimenting the near circular lawn. A small retaining wall and sleeper edges were used to make the level changes. The pergola incorporated the same bricks as the house, to the same level as the plinth, included in the building. This area also has Linda’s favourite feature, some flint panels on the ground, made with some of the flints from the garden.