Large rural rear garden

The brief for this garden was to remove a problem raised planting feature which was cutting the garden in half, and then to provide a contemporary garden which could be used for relaxing and entertaining. The client specified they would like a larger lawn area, more seating areas in which to enjoy the evening sunshine, and low maintenance but interesting planting.

Here are a few photos of the site on our initial visit on a snowy day in February, and from the first day’s construction on-site, in March.

The view from the house, with the large problem raised bed in full view.

After discussion with the client, we added vegetable beds, a summer house and a rear gate to the brief, and it was also requested we remove the hot tub which was built into the existing deck.

The scheme we proposed involved building a completely new deck and summer house at the rear of the garden, which was a sun-trap in the evening. The deck area was to be constructed around an existing tree. The scheme then separated the lawn into three smaller areas separated by large walk-through pergolas.

Raised vegetable beds were sited in a sunny position, screened from the house by large planting beds and another existing tree. A new, shaped lawn was proposed, edged with steel, and the new deck edge was also to be clad in sheet stainless steel. We also made suggestions for garden furniture and planters to compliment the design.

The initial plan was accepted, subject to minor changes.

The first job was site clearance. The raised bed was removed, existing plants to be retained were carefully dug up and re-potted, and all turf was removed. Once the site was cleared an electric cable was laid beneath the lawn area to service the summer house at the far end of the garden. Then the site was levelled and extra top-soil was added where required.

The raised bed was removed first.

A mini-digger helps!

The site is levelled and marked out with spray paint ready for the build to start.

Aided by favourable spring weather, our carpenter was able to start work on the two feature pergolas while we installed the steel lawn edging, and once the pergolas were complete we tackled the task of removing the hot tub and making good the resultant hole in the decking.

The pergola legs going in.

The steel lawn edge will create a clean edge to the new lawn.

Removing the hot tub was no mean feat!

The hole left behind was replaced with deck boards flush to the existing surface.

With the existing deck well advanced and pergolas completed, work turned to building the new deck and summerhouse at the far end of the garden. The deck was being constructed around an existing tree, so care had to be taken with the tree’s roots when building the support structure. The vegetable beds were also installed, and surrounded with a gravel path. The next item to be installed was the turf. For this project we used Lindum Turf, which we laid over the course of a day.

Work is well underway with the new deck and base for the summerhouse.

Turfing the new lawns.

At last we reached what is, for me, the fun part – the planting. The scheme was centred around a backbone of shrubs using contrasting leaf colours, eg Phormium tenax Purpurea and ‘Yellow Wave’, Cotinus coggygria, Philadelphus coronarius Aurea and existing Physocarpus ‘Diablo’. These were combined with herbaceous plants with strong, complimentary colours, such as the orange flowered Helenium ‘Moorheim Beauty’, deep purple Penstemon ‘Raven’, and the acid greens of Alchemilla mollis and Euphorbia amygdaloides var. Robbiae.

We had some beautiful April days in which to plant the garden.

Our clients couldn’t wait, and planted up the vegetable beds themselves!

The finished garden
We popped back to take some finished shots of the garden about six weeks after completion.

The view from the existing deck, through the pergolas.

The view from upstairs, with the new deck and seating in the distance.

A view back towards the house.

The new deck, with summerhouse and exterior rattan furniture.

The raised vegetable beds looking well stocked already.

Phormium, Penstemon and Helenium contrast with the existing Hawthorn hedge.

The pergolas were planted with climbing Trachelospermum jasminoides.

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