Mountain Ash

An extensive country garden design on Box Hill featuring a marriage of modern and traditional materials

A lovely opportunity to work with enthusiastic clients to create a country garden design in the heart of the Surrey Hills. The clients here approached me to make sense of and re-work their large country garden, which was overgrown and dilapidated. The clients wanted to work on the whole garden over time, but the areas closest to the house were naturally of highest priority, so I worked with them to produce an overarching plan, concentrating on these areas first, and devising way to reconcile the complex levels and angles of the site. The site has a total of 8 levels to the had landscaping, which required a practical design and precise setting out. The finished design uses a marriage of modern and traditional materials to create a classic yet modern country garden design – London Stone Gea luxury porcelain paving and Kenilworth Antique Bricks .

The Brief

To create a country garden design of this size, I start out by creating a zone plan, to divide the garden into different areas of usage and priority. Having divided the garden into twelve zones – eight nearest the house and four further removed, we then developed a landscape strategy to define the approach and the level of intervention appropriate to each area. Concentrating on the areas closest to the house, we developed a plan to renew a disused front entrance, bring in a new path to the front door, smarten up the entire frontage, re-work and rationalise levels, replace a water feature, and create new garden and patio areas for the main house and guest house, all surrounded by modern perennial planting and strategically-placed topiary.

The Design

At the front, the new entrance and path create a sense of arrival, and a new zig-zag brick wall creates a sense of rhythm and repetition for planting to frame the front of the house, including some statement topiary pices. A new sunken kitchen garden was slotted into the sloping land around it, creating a dual purpose space acting as a kitchen garden for the clients and a private garden for anyone staying in the guest house.

Existing narrow steps were demolished and new wider steps built to create a grander route from the main house down through four intermediate levels to the new rear patio. This was enclosed by a new raised brick planter to wrap around it, and a new sunken water feature replaced the old raised one, with a fountain and lights.

The two main materials used were antique Kenilworth bricks for walls, paths and steps, and London Stone Gea luxury porcelain paving for tough, attractive and low-maintenance patio areas. Getting the geometry of the house and guest house to work together was a challenge due to the odd angle at which they sat from each other, but the design successfully integrated both spaces and Guy from House of Landscaping paid exceptional attention to detail with the setting-out. This was the second of three projects in 2020 with House of Building.




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