Denbies View

Sculpting the land around a new extension

The clients here approached me to help them design the area around a new extension that they were planning to the rear of their arts-and-crafts house in Dorking. This was a characterful property on the northern side of Dorking, which was to have a modern extension juxtaposed at the rear, requiring cutting into and shaping the land that rose away from the house.

The Brief

The extension was going to eat into land that was already steeply rising, and this needed to be framed in such a way that the garden wouldn’t loom over the extension and would allow it ‘room to breathe’.

The clients also needed to add a new set of steps, extend the existing York stone garden walls that was in keeping with the rustic look of the existing garden, and re-work the existing garden path leading to a pool house. There were planning considerations and soil hydrology issues that had to be addressed, and a soil survey was commissioned to fully understand the build-up of the soil – which was a former tennis court over native marl (a mixture of clay and chalk)

The Design

I worked with the clients, producing an option with stone walls and another with brick walls, and developing each with the client incrementally. The clients were highly exacting and wanted to explore all possible design approaches, so we went through more revisions than I have ever done on any previous project – nearly twenty in all! The end result is a landform and patio that wrap around the extension, but are pulled back far enough not to loom over it or spoil the views up the garden. Garden walls are made from York Stone, and the patio will be Brittania Buff York Stone to complement the walls, but in a more modern sawn finish.




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