Contemporary Garden, Gloucs


Front and rear garden on large, steep, exposed site with extensive views surrounding a newly built contemporary Eco home that had been featured on Channel 4’s ‘Building the Dream’.


To design a family garden on very steeply sloping land, some of which was unstable and inaccessible. My clients were passionate about ecology and sustainability and wanted a design that embraced their values  and enhanced their recently built, passive Eco home. In order to make the most of the far reaching views, the upside-down living space overlooked the garden which presented interesting design opportunities. My clients’ wish list included: 2 water features, an entertainment terrace including fire pit and shading, a productive garden, potting shed / area, a den-cum-studio, play area, parking for 6 cars and a pergola. Due to the steep site, it was only possible for the children to access the garden through ground floor bedrooms and so it was important to design a garden with access from the top floor.

My Solution:

I took inspiration from the Eden Project’s ‘Core’ building which influenced the design’s shape, colours and textures. The contemporary design radiates from a large picture window, from which there are far reaching views. Topiary and clipped hedging contrast with naturalistic planting encouraging wildlife. Rainwater is harvested and sustainable or recycled materials used where possible.

I included: improved garden access via steps in a gabion retaining wall, a split-level terrace with studio made from an up-cycled shipping container, a fire-pit and dining. I designed an easily accessible vegetable garden, a driveway with defined shape and ample parking; softened with planting, a rectangular pool surrounded by topiary and grasses for all year interest and meadow with tree avenue to be viewed from above. A wildlife pond is situated in a quiet corner complete with pergola, seating and pond dipping deck. Hedging screens overlooked boundaries but maintains views. A shady nook near one of the bedrooms is transformed with topiary and wall planting.  Terracing using gabion walls solves the problem of a steep narrow strip of unusable land and includes a play area and easily maintained woodland, the canopy viewed from above.

This was a live college project and as yet not built, however it was judged by rigorous standards and gained me a distinction for the project.