Modern sanctuary

From blank canvas to family haven

The dream

The family had moved into a new build property in Bedfordshire with a west-facing garden.  There was a small patio, no planting and most of the space had been turfed over. The back border of the garden was marked by an original Edwardian brick wall. The family’s wish list included a generous dining area, a good-sized lawn, a place to grow vegetables and a hammock to relax in.  Room to entertain lots of people was a must, as were spaces for quiet retreat.  One daughter suggested a fire pit and the other a trampoline.

Our insight

The house already had a connection to the garden thanks to bi-fold doors which open straight from the kitchen/family room into the outside space, and strengthening that connection was a vital element of the design concept. It was also important to complement the Edwardian brick wall running along the back boundary of the garden, dating from days where the new build plot had been part of the neighbouring property’s large garden.

Overall, we wanted to create a warm, naturalistic feel to the garden – it’s a modern house and the garden reflects that through its strong geometry, but the planting and materials were chosen to soften the effect.

The transformation

A pale grey sandstone terrace flows from the kitchen, while the planters, low walls and laser-cut art of the fire pit are all weathering steel that rusts to warm tones.  Clay pavers leading to the fire pit complement the original brick wall at the rear, while the fire pit seating and raised beds in the vegetable garden are green oak.

The terrace is home to four large ‘floating’ planters while the lawn has four generous quadrant beds.  Both look like mass planting as the year progresses.  To the side of the greenhouse is a meadow from wildflower turf, embellished with spring bulbs and home to the hammock.  The semi-sunken trampoline is screened by large miscanthus.

The planting is intricately layered, featuring different species and combinations.  Spring sees splashes of orange and yellow, while muted purples and blues follow in summer.  Each terrace bed is home to a multi-stemmed amelanchier, underplanted with spring bulbs. The naturalistic lawn beds include alliums, nepetas, salvias, asters, achilleas and grasses. The perimeter borders are more of a woodland mix.

The garden is enjoyed by the family on a daily basis. Since its creation, it has been the location for many wider gatherings of friends and family and also the setting for special birthday celebrations.  Many happy family memories are being laid down for years to come.

As soon as we moved into our new home, we prioritised creating a family garden.  We wanted to establish the garden straightaway so that we could make the most of family time with our children – dining outside, relaxing... read more

As soon as we moved into our new home, we prioritised creating a family garden.  We wanted to establish the garden straightaway so that we could make the most of family time with our children – dining outside, relaxing and entertaining other family and friends. Working with The Garden Company has been a positive experience throughout.

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Mrs S, Bedfordshire
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