The Well House

A tiny sunken garden inserted into a larger garden in Fetcham

These clients had bought a 17th century house with a barn in the garden. The courtyard space between house and barn had been taken up with a big old overgrown yew tree, blocking light to both house and barn windows and impeding access. The yew was removed, leaving a hole in the ground and some uneven York Stone paving. The clients wanted to use this redundant space between the main house and the recently-converted barn annexe, to provide a dining area in a secluded spot outside their kitchen.

The Brief

The garden and house included many ancient period features and materials, which the clients wanted to retain and re-use sensitively to make the new garden of a piece with the existing older garden, which had features dating back to at least Victorian times, with some of the materials likely re-used from the original 17th century garden. The brief was to create secluded outside dining area whilst providing a small garden and a space to exhibit a sculpture. This needed to also provide direct access through to the barn conversion and a sense of enclosure.

The Design

This was a simple little garden, but the clients wanted to keep the ancient stone and brick paving surrounding the area, with its undulating surface and uneven levels. The existing materials on site were sensitively re-used – Victorian clay tiles and knapped flint in the construction of the steps and plinth for the sculpture, with tiles on edge used to delineate the path between house and barn. Around the new garden the existing ancient paving had to be taken up, re-laid, and hand-dressed to form a new edge to the upper patio area.

The area was enclosed in a low box hedge with a small herb garden to serve the adjoining kitchen, with the main emphasis on providing a family seating area for outside dining. Taller box hedging to one end provided a green alcove in which a bespoke sculpture could sit.




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