A front and rear family garden on a sloping site in Reigate

A family garden design in Reigate for professional clients who had just moved to the area. These clients had moved out from London to Reigate to get more space and were renovating a generously proportioned Edwardian property in what estate agents refer to as the Lesbourne Village area on the south side of central Reigate.

They wanted to completely refurbish front and rear gardens, giving a modern fresh look as a complete change from the old brick wall that was immediately outside the kitchen. The design solution included London stone Gea luxury porcelain paving with matching coping stones and steps, DesignClad cladding, and Millboard composite decking.

The project was completed in late 2022, so the image gallery shows immature planting in its first season in May 2023. By the second year, the plants will have filled out and covered all bare soil. The clients are already loving using their new garden, as is the new family arrival, born during the creation of the garden. It’s a great space to enjoy family life in, and will change as the client’s children grow up, with the top level already earmarked for a Millboard composite deck forming an outdoor lounge area for enjoying summer evenings at the end of a long day.

This is one of the benefots of using a professional garden designer – you can design a garden not just for your family’s needs right now, but to plan in advance how you want it to change over time, with the minimum of disruption.

The Brief

The house was approached by a tall set of very uncomfortable steps, with huge risers and overly-long treads, clad in poor-quality concrete paving. The rear garden rose steeply from the house but had little interest and the old brick walls were very dark and gloomy, making the small rear patio feel somewhat oppressive. The clients wanted to completely renew the front steps from scratch, to make them more comfortable to climb, and to create a three-level family rear garden with a lower patio connecting directly to the kitchen/diner, space for children’s play, and an upper area that will in time become a large lounge area that faces the setting sun, but for now will also provide space for children’s play.

The Design

The design starts at the front with new steps with a much more comfortable rise and tread. These are clad in London Stone Gea Porcelain – a premium product with a beautiful textured finish. This was used throughout the project but using different format slabs as appropriate to the situation, with square slabs at the front and rectangular slabs to the side and rear. The wrought iron balustrade was re-worked and powder-coated to prolong its life, and the planting was greatly simplified for a clean, crisp, low-maintenance look. The steps lead to a landing (which is also the garage roof) to the front door, and a new gate protects privacy to the side alley, which is also re-paved all the way to the new rear patio in matching slabs.

The enlarged patio uses the Gea slabs with London Stone’s DesignClad wall cladding, giving a bright, modern look. A generous and wide set of steps clad in the same materials leads to the first lawn, surrounded by ornamental planting, and a second set of oak sleeper steps lead to the upper lawn which is also softened with ornamental planting. We actually went through three different designs of the upper garden area – first with Millboard composite decking, then paving and then lawn, and the existing tree, which had been slated for replacement by two new trees, was eventually retained. Giant limestone boulders provide a fun route through the banked borders for the children, inspired by the natural play area at Kew Gardens. Everything is finished off with subtle lighting scheme to really set things off in the evenings and prolong the hours of enjoyment.

Constructed during the hot summer of 2022, and planted in the autumn, the first visit photos show the planting in its first season, before it has filled out the borders – next year, there will be no gaps, and a profusion of flowers to borders and fences.




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