Claygate Rear Garden

Squaring the Circle in Claygate

These clients approached me because the first lockdown of 2020 had given them cause to reconsider their garden and to decide to put in a garden studio. The existing garden decks were starting to rot and the planting was also failing. Although small, the garden had several issues to address, including a drainage culvert at the rear prone to occasional flooding, whose banks would need strengthening in order to support the weight of the garden studio. For such a small space, this what quite an involved project.

The Brief

The clients’ existing garden was a somewhat bare rectangle that lacked any interest. The south facing deck was too hot in summer, neither of the clients being sun-worshippers. The new garden studio needed to be slotted into a space alongside existing mature trees, and a shady area was required for hot summer days. Fences needed renewing, privacy and security needed to be maintained from a public footpath at the rear, and most importantly, far greater planting interest was desired, to soften the space and attract wildlife

The Design

Having arranged for a formwork contractor to build a new reinforced concrete bank and bed to the drainage culvert, I set about finding the best position for the new garden studio – an attractive building with bi-fold doors and heating for year-round use. It was just about possible to create a small ‘reading nook’ for two people with comfy chairs beside the studio, beneath an existing Portuguese laurel that we had attractively pruned to a mushroom shape. A matching new raised deck to the rear of the house enlarged the space for seating, and adding a bespoke aluminium pergola over this for the clients’ Wisteria, meant that they would be able to enjoy this better and look out over the garden. Inscribing a circle into the square outline of the garden left between the two decks created space for planting beds of varying width and height, and the studio could be accessed by either decked steps to the lawn, or stepping stones from the raised deck for year round interest.




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