We have just returned from a visit to “talk through the plants” with clients at our recently finished project in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire. The planting was only completed a few weeks ago but is already beginning to settle in and the new lawn has now had it’s first cut.
The garden was designed to provide my clients (a young couple with a two year old son and now another one on the way) with a family friendly space to include a place to site the barbecue, a large play area (in view from the house), some easy care planting with some culinary herbs, a plum tree and enough lawn left to kick a football around in. We agreed that it made sense to retain the existing large softwood deck as it worked perfectly well as a terrace space. Now that the garden is finished the owners plan to revitalise the timber with a paint treatment. Bi fold doors lead directly from the kitchen to the deck so that entertaining and Al fresco meals are a practical option.
Apart from the large deck and a decent attractive storeroom/workshop there was not much else in the garden. As you can see from the photos below the few plants were overgrown and not very exciting so there was plenty of scope for improvement.
My clients wanted the new design to be fairly modern but still in keeping with their traditional red brick house so definitely not too contemporary. My aim was to fulfill the brief but also to give the garden a strong shape so that the deck would be less dominant and integrate better with the rest of the garden. We chose a warm coloured sandstone for the new paving with a matching sett as a lawn edging and infill detail.
With a busy lifestyle and demanding careers it’s important to my clients that the planting should be reasonably low maintenance, so in the main plant beds we stuck to using predominantly shrubs interspersed with just a few accent perennials.
The larger more shaded of two raised beds is planted with a white hydrangea, dark plum coloured heucheras, box, pale pink astrantias and white japanese anemones in contrast to the sunny herb bed that stands adjacent to it.
The herb bed positioned close to the barbecue and not far from the kitchen is planted with herbs such as a prostrate rosemary to soften the corner of the raised bed, varieties of thyme, chives, oregano,lemon verbena, fennel, purple basil and sage. The contrasting textures and colours mean that the bed is attractive as well as providing an easy supply of herbs for cooking. Adjacent to this a standard bay tree positioned in a lavender lined bed completes the sunny corner.
We have included some small trees to give seasonal interest and add another dimension to the planting. A Sorbus “Pink Pagoda” has lovely pink berries,Prunus serrula was selected for it’s mahogany polished bark and Amelanchier “Robin Hill”with it’s late spring blossom followed by rich autumn hues cover the decorative requirements whilst the “Victoria” plum and fig tree hold the promise of some home grown fruit.
I am pleased to say that the garden has met with my clients’ approval and also made their two year old boy happy!