A small town garden
Mary’s knew some of the challenges to fix in her garden when I first visited. Apart from being a screaming red colour, the fence on one side was far from straight. The cheap paving slabs looked poor next to the ‘new build’ house and most significantly there was a large drop as you came into the garden from the conservatory. The fact that the whole garden sloped was a bonus, it is always good to have level changes in a design and a slope means that making them is part done for you!
A True Transformation
Rather than change the whole fence, which was still quite good, I had a couple of posts replaced with upright ones and then the whole thing was painted a neutral grey/beige.
Another line of posts was set up just in front of the fence and then battens where used as trelliswork, set only as horizontals. We use this simple approach often as it does not add extra weight to the fence and although you need access from the other side, it is still possible to replace the fence and not destroy the climbing plants. That’s just the practical side of things but clearly the effect is transformational as well.
We built the patio outside the conservatory up to floor level so that stepping out was pleasure and the garden became nearer and more accessible. Coming away from the house I have used a carefully placed diagonal step using a line of sleepers. This guides the path to the back gate whilst the diagonal, being longer than the width of the garden, creates a sense of more space.
There was just enough room to fit in a custom made pergola at the bottom of the garden, creating a second shaded area which she wanted. The structure of the pergola is kept quite simple to reflect the modern setting and this also helps with costs of course. Mary already had a stone seat she wanted to use under the pergola.
The planting has bright purple accents but is carefully designed to provide year round interest. Because of the aspect it was possible to include a semi-mature tree, Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis,’ which flowers for months at a time. A second tree, Magnolia grandiflora, at the bottom of the garden, will grow to obscure some of the surrounding houses.