A contemporary walled garden

The brief

This 8 x 5 meters pocket garden was designed for a retired couple who have a taste for contemporary pared-down design while having a penchant for beautiful planting combinations, having enjoyed nurturing a much larger garden in the countryside for years which they still own and visit at the weekend.  They wanted to have a dining table so that they could have their children and grandchildren around for an alfresco meal but were concerned it might overbear the space.

What I did

The plot is at an angle and the architects of their house had extended the internal polished concrete flooring outside by a meter or so following the angle of the rear boundary.  This is a great detail that links the inside and outside very well and both my clients and I were keen to work with this. The layout of the whole garden derives from this line, following in some places and deconstructing it in others. We chose riven grey sandstone to compliment the polished concrete.  The grey is very similar but the texture is in complete contrast indicating that we are going from a man-made material to a natural material as we’re leaving the house and stepping into the garden.

The garden benefits from a very sunny and sheltered aspect which allowed me to plant multi-stemmed Melia Azerbach to punctuate the garden. The dining area doesn’t look cluttered; I even managed to incorporate a raised decked platform with two armchairs which anchors the garden.  This is very inviting and encourages the garden to be used in different ways.  A few slabs have dropped by a few millimetres and edged with stainless steel and constitute a trap for rain water, creating a natural reflecting pool which evaporates within a few hours after the rain has stopped. It is quite magical and an interesting way to create a cheap, no electrics needed water feature that is quite subtle yet effective.

The planting includes Melia Azerbach, a row of Betula Utilis, Calamagrotis Acutiflora “Karl Foester”, yew and box hedging for structure, the herbaceous borders include favourites such as Tiarella “Spring Symphony”, fennel “Giant Bronze”, Salvia nemerosa, Achillea Credo and “Walther Funcke”, Euphorbia Characias Wulfenii, Alchemilla Mollis, and Penstemon “Raven” and Iris “Jane Phillips". 

Photographs by Alexandra Davies.