Country Garden with Views


Country garden for a barn conversion in North Somerset.


To design a space that embraces the property’s rural heritage and maximises far reaching views of the Mendip Hills. Being located over two levels, it was important that the garden was unified and had a sense of flow from entrance level to the rest of the garden. My client’s wish list: large sheltered dining terrace, potager garden with potting shed, lawn space for kids and dog, additional shed for storage, smarter entrance area, step lighting, bin store and oil tank screening, planting that was full, informal and wildlife friendly.

My Solution:

The large upper terrace was transformed with new paving creating a wonderful dining area to enjoy the setting sun and far reaching views.  Wide steps accommodate level changes and low hedging marks the boundary between house and wider garden. It was crucial when choosing new materials, to compliment those found in the barns and neighbouring buildings. We opted for Antique Honey Cathedral Limestone paving from Westminster Stone – a durable and timeless stone which created a mellow, neutral foreground for the ubiquitous old stone walls on site. The stone walls were softened with planting and the warmth of the paving was echoed by using terracotta pots planted with evergreens, and perennials with accents of pale apricot roses.

The terrace was extended to replace an old deck and the steps reoriented towards an old gnarled Lilac tree which became a focal point.  A smart new potting shed surrounded by oak sleeper beds creates a beautiful but practical space to grow pretty edibles, cut flowers and espaliered fruit. A chair under the old Lilac tree provides a place to rest whilst pottering.

The entrance to the property was smartened up with new paving and walls softened with simple planting in a huge Corten steel trough and in gravel.  Existing old curved steps were emphasised by topiary and lighting as an obvious route to the front door. In the evening the old steps are transformed as light floods down them like a waterfall.

A new lawn was given a strong circular shape echoing the curved steps and a curved path links potager to lower terrace. Mown paths lead to a sculpture and to a new shed for storage. Borders are  sweeping and full – billowing with roses, perennials and grasses spilling over the edges. I used naturalistic crab apple trees, roses and other shrubs on the boundaries and the sweep of perennial meadow turf at the bottom boundary opens up and blurs the transition from garden to the fields and hills beyond. A borrowed landscape.

Next:  Small Garden in Clevedon