essex garden

Before

Before

The clients have lived in the property in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex for several years and have extensively renovated the interior. They are now turning their attentions to the garden and are looking for a complete garden design for their outside space. Its a tricky plot as it is over two levels with slopes. The current layout poses problems as the top terrace is impractical and too small for table and chairs, the stairs down to the lower area are rickety and uneven, and the lower area is shaded and prone to flooding. Due to budget restraints the client may do a full- or partial self build on the garden.

This garden aims to deliver a contemporary garden design. The existing levels will remain but the house level terrace will be extended to allow ample space for a fixed bench seat and provision for comfortable dining and entertaining. The terrace will be laid with composite decking.

The sketch

The sketch

The steps would be relocated to the left hand side of the space and will be deeper with several turns to create more a gradual descent into the lower area. The sides and risers of the step area will be created from rendered blocks painted a dark grey. The treads of the steps will be constructed from creamy mint fossil to contrast the dark grey of the walls. Halfway down the steps will be a small pool with a wide stainless steel water blade mounted on the retaining wall, which will be clad with dark grey slate V-tiles to add texture. In front of this will be a small integrated decking seat. The front of the upper terrace will be constructed from dense concrete blocks and clad with V-tiles to create a stylish and elegant backdrop to the lower garden.

The top terrace will benefit from a fixed bench seat which will run down the right hand side of the space and along the front edge of the deck. Stainless steel tension wire balustrade will provide a safety barrier while allowing the space to remain airy and open. Large olive trees in coloured fibreglass planters will flank either end of the bench.

The lower area will be mainly laid with lawn, interspersed at intervals with box hedges, cutting into the lawn in parallel with the house. Indian sandstone sets will be laid in a single course to edge the lawn and large Mint Fossil paving ‘steppingstones’ will lead the user from the decking stairs to the end of the garden.

A second seating also comprising composite decking on ground level provides an area for relaxing on sofas as the sun goes down. Traversing the span of this decking will be large timber arches, constructed from chunky green oak beams to add structure and drama to the space and helping to create a feeling of an outdoor room. The main focus of this design is the block built feature fireplace in the back centre of the space, which will be rendered and clad in slate V-tiles. This structure will create a talking point and allow the client opportunity for an open fire to add to the garden’s ambience during evening entertaining.

Sketch

Sketch

How we visualise it

How we visualise it

The right of the space will be planted with non-invasive bamboo, a typically thirsty plant which may help combat the waterlogging issues at the bottom of the garden. To the right of this will be a shed tucked in behind the existing tree. The majority of the plants will be removed although the trees in the bottom right and left hand side of the garden will stay.
Silverbirch will also stay adding sense of height, maturity and structure to the garden

Planting in the space is cool and crisp, with a focus on texture and foliage. Strong architectural evergreens sit amongst blousey hardy perennials chosen to help soften the whole scheme.