Downs Road

A Family and Entertaining Garden in Epsom with Garden Office

These clients approached me to re-design the garden of the house they had lied in for some time, in the Downs Road Estate conservation area in Epsom – an estate of architectural significance and a rare 20th century example of American style urban design in the UK, with characteristic open front gardens.

The Brief

The clients’ existing garden was old and tired and used very dated materials such as 1970s crazy paving and fake stone walls. The clients wanted a complete refresh, which would also address the conversion of an existing double garage into a garden office, giving the new garden two axes of interest when it had previously only had one. This created a requirement to re-work the levels and create an additional seating area for the garden office, terracing the garden, and providing a much larger dining patio with more seclusion. Key to the whole design was that the clients owned a significant portion of land outside the existing garden wall, which we wanted to reclaim int the garden.

The Design

My first thought was how to re-incorporate into the garden the land which currently lay outside the east wall, which required careful consideration of how to address the concerns of the notoriously fussy residents’ committee as well as the conservation officers. I designed a curved wall to minimise the visual impact of the change and to preserve the vision splays from driveway entrances either side of the wall. I divided the garden into three levels, with a narrow lower patio providing spill-out from the lounge doors, with two sets of steps leading to paths crossing the lower lawn to a spacious upper lounge and dining level, with ample room for a large refectory table for family dining and comfortable outdoor sofas for enjoying the dappled shade provided by the two proposed trees. A south-facing border provides space for espalier fruit trees, soft fruit and herbs, while the remainder of the borders are devoted to colourful herbaceous planting. At the rear of the garden, a sculpture will provide a central focal point, and a lighting scheme will enhance everything in the evenings, when time around a firepit can be enjoyed.




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