A delightful traditional garden design on a challenging site in Nottingham
We love designing gardens in Nottingham and we definitely love a garden design challenge!
Wrapping around a large and attractive period property in the heart of one of the leafier parts of this amazing city, the existing garden had definitely seen better days. Extremely busy professionals, our customers had been able to devote very little time to the garden in recent years. But, now that their children had flown the nest, they felt it was time to ‘reclaim’ their outdoor space and create a garden that they could be truly proud of.
A simple garden design brief
Our customers' combined ‘wish list’ for the design of their new garden seemed relatively straightforward. He wanted a new greenhouse and a small fruit and vegetable garden, whilst she asked for attractive ornamental planting areas and somewhere pleasant to sit and read. They both wanted to reduce the amount of lawn but were keen to introduce some water into their garden.
That all sounds fine, so what was so challenging?
Well, let’s begin with the level variations. This is a steeply sloping site, with a total fall from rear to front of approximately 2m. The existing garden had been mainly laid to lawn as a way of ‘dealing’ with the levels, but this had become very difficult to maintain and meant that a lot of the space was effectively unused. It certainly wasn’t going to meet the future needs of our customers.
In addition, very few of the property’s windows looked out to the rear garden space. This is unlike most of the projects we tackle, which often tend to focus on a clearly defined rear garden space that can be clearly seen from the important doors and windows. Our customers were naturally keen to use the whole of the space, so we needed to find a way to entice them out into their new garden without relying on 'the usual' views from the kitchen or living room.
Just to add to the challenges, the garden boasts an extremely large and dominant tree, and the house next door was so close to our customer’s boundary that we had to do what we could to increase the overall sense of privacy.
A garden design of adjoining spaces, paths and internal views
Our garden design solution divides the space into separate areas. This has enabled us to create a series of internal views and paths which lead the eye and create a sense of direction and purpose. The ‘journey’ begins at the most important area of the whole design: a new ‘courtyard’ garden which links the rear door of the property to the rest of the garden. With sandstone paving, clipped Buxus hedging and a centrally-positioned stainless steel focal point, this space feels ‘grown up’, traditional and calming.
From our new courtyard, a series of paths lead us to other parts of the garden. First, we have a secluded rear garden space, with a gently sloping ‘formal’ lawn and a simple reflective pool. A new Taxus bacatta (yew) hedge divides this area from the courtyard, and as it grows it will provide an increasingly effective screen. A second hedge conceals a manageably-sized vegetable garden with raised beds and a small greenhouse.
Oak arches with climbing roses provide height and textural interest
A wide gravel path leads us from our rear garden spaces to the front of the plot, stepping down gently as it does so. Raised beds constructed from oak run either side of this path, providing plenty of room for attractive mixed planting to offer year-round colour, texture and interest.
Oak arches span the path support fragrant climbing roses, adding an important element of height and offering a degree of privacy from the neighbouring property. We love using oak in the gardens we design- it weathers beautifully and always adds a sense of timeless class and elegance.
A raised terrace creates a spacious seating and entertaining area
The front of the property is delightfully hidden from the quiet residential street by tall trees, but it still manages catches the evening sun. To take advantage of this, we designed a simple raised terrace to create a spacious seating and entertaining area. It’s a perfect spot for early evening drinks and looks down on a formal rectangular lawn and generously stocked ornamental planting borders. A second ‘occasional’ seating area is at lawn level, offering a lovely space for reading, reflection and relaxation.
A deceptively simple garden design
Demonstrating that it is possible to create an interesting and relaxing garden in a particularly challenging plot, the design of this Nottingham garden is beautiful and practical. This is a garden that will get better and better as time passes, the carefully selected materials ageing gracefully as the plants establish and mature. Definitely, an oasis of calm in a thriving city.
We absolutely loved creating this garden, but let’s conclude with the thoughts of our fantastic customer:
“We unreservedly recommend Ian for his design skill, original ideas, gardening knowledge, enthusiasm and hard physical work. From our first meeting he has been attentive, prompt and thorough. We look forward to enjoying our new garden for many years to come.”