A wonderful low-maintenance garden design near Sleaford, Lincolnshire
One of the best things about being a garden designer in Lincolnshire is the sheer variety of different gardens we are asked to design. No two plots are ever the same, and each and every customer has a different list of requirements. One day we might be invited to look at a large country garden whilst the next we could be asked to design a much smaller urban garden. This garden design for a lovely couple in the bustling market town of Sleaford definitely fits into the latter category.
A typical new-build property in need of imaginative garden design
Like so many new-build properties, our customer’s three storey mid-terrace townhouse had a very small amount of outdoor space. The developer had chosen to lay this mainly to a gently sloping lawn, but had included a token (and ridiculously tiny) patio immediately outside the back door. In common with so many of the new-builds we are called to, this compact garden had three man-hole covers, each set at a different height and angle. Marvellous!
Low-maintenance garden design
Our customers had a very clear starting point for their new garden ‘wish list’. The property was to be their holiday home and would only be used periodically (no lawn please!), so the first priority was to ensure that the garden was extremely low-maintenance. But low-maintenance doesn’t have to mean low-interest, so we were asked to design an attractive and welcoming garden that would have a clear sense of purpose and character.
The new garden also had to look good from above because the property’s first floor living room has a lovely balcony over-looking the outside space. All-weather access to the end of the garden was required to enable easy access to the gate to the communal parking area and bin store, and a small seating area and a compact garden shed were also on the list.
Keeping garden design simple
Our garden design philosophy is always to keep things as simple as possible and to do them as well as possible, and this is definitely the right approach for smaller gardens. Our design for this garden may appear to be very straightforward but it is also extremely effective.
The rectangular garden is dominated by a large brick-edged feature circle, neatly distracting the eye from the visually over-powering boundary fences. To successfully manage the level variations, the circle doubles as a step and gives access to a path leading to the back door and to a small seating area.
A path at the rear of the circle leads to the rear boundary gate and the new garden shed. A trellis panel with climbing plants serves as a screen to hide the shed whilst also creating a fragrant and attractive backdrop for a bench that has been carefully positioned to catch the evening sunshine.
Carefully selected hard-landscaping materials
In keeping with our clean and simple approach to the design of this garden, we very deliberately chose to use a very limited number of different hard-landscaping materials. An attractive and cost-effective 20mm flat gravel was selected as the main surface material for this project. When utilised with care, gravel can be a good-looking and versatile material for any garden, but it does need to be laid on a heavy-duty landscaping membrane to reduce the risks of perennial weeds.
A delightful natural sandstone was chosen for the seating area, whilst a lovely landscaping brick was utilised to create the circle and path edgings. Used throughout the garden, this attractive textured brick is a remarkably close visual match to the walls of the house and does a wonderful job of ensuring that the whole space feels unified. Recessed inspection covers replace the unsightly black manhole covers left by the house builders.
Low-maintenance planting design
The planting design for this garden was really important. With limited space for plants, and a definite need for low-maintenance, we had to ensure that every single plant merited its place and would behave itself.
A collection of beautiful perennials provide year-round colour and interest, whilst a few carefully positioned specimen shrubs provide texture and structure. Perfectly tensioned wires along the fences provide the perfect support for plentiful climbing plants, and these will quickly establish themselves and hide the boundaries to make the garden feel more spacious than it really is.
The perfect rural retreat
This Sleaford garden design project is impressive. Who says low-maintenance has to be boring? With a circle and curves to lead the eye and make the space feel much larger than it really is, our customers have everything they asked for and they really are delighted:
“Our house, with its small patio garden, was typical of newly built houses- the garden was in need of some imaginative thought. The garden is already looking mature after just four months, and we are delighted and impressed with what Ian has been able to achieve in such a short time.”