We were invited recently to produced a garden design in Essex, for a beautiful south facing garden with loads of potential.
The client has recently bought this newly renovated house with a sizeable garden. The renovations included partial landscaping of the garden and the client is happy with the majority of the existing landscaping. However, the majority of the garden is currently covered with uneven grass and the client has requested extensive planting to add interest, as well as some restructuring of the layout of the existing decking. The area at the bottom of the garden will remain as-is, possibly to be re-organised at a later date.
The garden takes influence from calm modern Japanese garden design. The lawn will be levelled, re-laid and shaped to resemble a series of squares set on an angle along the length of the space. These lawns will be bisected by an Indian sandstone pathway zigzagging diagonally down the garden.
The top terrace level of the existing decking (adjoining the patio doors) will be extended out further into the middle of the decked area and deeper terraced steps will be constructed to allow for an easier, safer entry into the garden. The steps will join the sandstone pathway at the end of the decked area. A Japanese cloud tree set in a planting bed to the left of the first dog-leg of the pathway will create a stunning focal point when viewed from the house and set the tone for the rest of the garden.
Two timber framed archways, inspired by modern Japanese garden screens, enhance the Japanese garden theme. The first creates an entrance to the rest of the garden, with a second arch repeated further down the space. Illuminated planters stepped in at even degrees on the patio and planted with tall bamboos, help with screening form the garden next door, as does the planting of Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Garnet’ (a variety of Japanese maple.)
Planting is soft and leafy, creating a calming, serene ambience. Concentrating on leaf form and colour rather than showy blooms, this garden will feature specimen planting using staple Japanese show stoppers surrounded by complimentary species to further highlight the tranquillity of the space. A Wisteria will help to soften the existing gazebo, while Acers planted along either side of the garden will add height and lend the design the stunning autumnal colours that Japanese gardens are famous for.
Lighting in the garden will be subtle but striking. The archways will be illuminated with down lights, with spotlights giving accent lighting to the specimen planting throughout the beds. Gentle low voltage spotlights sprinkled throughout the planting beds will provide a general wash across the rest of the planting scheme. The illuminated planters will provide more gentle yet eye-catching lighting nearer the house. The Japanese cloud tree will be up-lit with spotlights to provide a stunning talking point when the sun goes down.
After presentation a few revisions had to be implemented