A large garden designed for a cutting-edge house


 Rear garden before construction


The house was already under construction when Gilly was approached to design the garden. She consulted with both clients and architect on the style and form that the elements of the garden should take in order to complement the clean crisp lines of the architecture.


With one young son and another on the way, the clients’ wish list started with a football field. Next on the list were climbing frames, swings, balance beams, trampoline and a grassy mound to roll down. And of course the garden had to be beautiful and elegant when viewed from the house and patio.


Gilly felt that the hard lines of the ultra modern house needed to be softened with lots of planting. This is always a problem when football is high on the activity list.  So the large and fulsome raised beds were conceived. The same sawn limestone used for the patio, clad the sides and tops of their walls. Small lollipop Olive trees – a nod to our clients Greek heritage -  set the planting theme of cool silver and blue.


The rear of the house, being largely glass, meant that all outlooks needed to be stunning, year round. Gilly designed the Corten screens, laser cut with an organic pattern, so that the wide, colourful borders behind them could still be seen from the house, yet the plants would not be trashed by a low flying football. The Corten perfectly echoes the house brickwork whilst complementing the colours in the planting.

 Front garden before construction


Both sides of the garden were planted with a mass of Box balls, either side of long timber benches. Both elements designed to protect the shrubs and perennials behind them.


The site is a very strange shape. At the rear of the plot a long spur sticks out between two neighbouring gardens and a Hornbeam hedge. This unbelievably has a TPO on it and runs across the garden at an odd angle. This hedge would have served well to hide the children’s play equipment but Mum wanted to be able to see the children playing from the house so the area behind the hedge became a mini orchard.


The screens and tall planting allow some visibility while softening the view of the play equipment.


The odd spur shape became The Secret Garden - a lushly planted space which the children could pretend is a jungle. Large leaves and soft grasses mingle with ferns and bamboos. A Living Willow Arch acts as a den and an old upturned tree stump is both a focal point and fun to climb on.


The front garden is narrow and largely sunless except for an hour or so in the early morning. This shady environment and the cantilevered roof of the house suggested a Japanese influence. Gilly took the opportunity to design a very different style of space from the back garden but still respect the house’s architectural style.

photography © alex pikal

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photography © alex pikal

all rights reserved