Garden of the Month – March 2012

Grow a Friendly Space


This design seeks to create a sleek and contemporary space, offering a host of funky visual stimuli and extensive opportunity for enjoyment throughout the year. A recurring oval or elliptical theme will help to unify the space and give the design a stylised and individual feel


The garden will be completely cleared and re-fenced along its left-hand and rear boundaries with new 6 ft fencing and matching gate. The area directly outside the back door will be decked in attractive and durable Western Red Cedar, with a series of 50cm deep terraced steps leading the client up to the garden proper where a large flush-level oval shaped decking patio takes centre stage. Also constructed from Red Cedar boards, this deck will be large enough to accommodate a variety of seating options with space for the client to add a chimenea for warmth on chilly autumn evenings. The deck will feature a 1 metre high curved stainless steel water wall, installed in a cut-out towards the deck’s ‘pointed end’. It will also benefit from a curved fixed-bench seat installed on one side, constructed from unusual wire gabions (50cm cubes constructed from thick galvanised mesh) filled with granite setts and topped with Red Cedar boards. Framing this bench, and running the entire length of the left ‘side’ of the oval deck, a curved rendered block wall with oval cut-out will create a unique focal point and visually arresting conversation piece.

To the right of the oval deck, a slim path constructed from smooth granite setts will curve its way through the space, leading the client through an oval-shaped lawn to the gate at the bottom of the space. The path will also bisect an elliptical stone patio, surrounded by a series of tall landscaping poles set vertically at intervals around its edge. These poles will allow the client to display fabric drops imparting movement, colour and drama to the space, while giving the paving area a sense of privacy and enclosure. The off-centre circular slab will be left out of the oval patio to accommodate the planting of a ‘Prunus Okame’ (cherry tree), which in time will give additional shade to the space.

Planting in the space is bold and funky using pink, red and orange shrubs, herbaceous plants and perennials to create year round interest. An ‘Acer palmatum Sango-kaku‘ will make a welcome replacement to the existing lilac adding a touch of the orient, while Phormium ‘Maori Sunrise’ planted in large stainless steel planters placed on either side of the decked steps will frame the entrance to the garden. The fences, both old and new, will be softened and obscured by the addition of a variety of climbers planted throughout the space.

Finally, a comprehensive lighting scheme will complete the design and allow for continued enjoyment of the space when the sun goes down. Oval shaped white micro LED lights installed within the risers of the terraced steps will safely guide the client into the garden. The seating area on the oval deck will be illuminated by two adjustable stainless steel spotlights installed on at either end of the curved feature wall, while ground level spotlights installed on either side of the water feature turn it into an eye-catching nocturnal focal point . This area will be further illuminated by a set of oval LED lights installed in the front of the gabion bench seat.

Lighting at the other end of the space will consist of fixed-head stainless steel down-lighters installed at the top of the display posts (1 per post) to give ample light to the paving area while making a feature of each individual post. To finish the scheme, a series of low-voltage spotlights placed within the planting beds create a subtle wash across the space while serving to highlight individual plant specimens.

family garden design
family garden design
family garden design