Large Garden, Clifton


Garden surrounding large 4 storey period property in Clifton, Bristol.


Redesign pond and surrounding area. Redesign planting for whole garden – front, side and rear.

Views from above were crucial as living areas overlooked the garden. An old garage and steps required screening and shady spots brightening.  Planting in front of a basement flat needed to be interesting all year but not block light and the entrance to the property needed impact. My clients were unhappy with their existing pond which leaked, lacked shape and was crammed into a small space. They were keen to have a water feature that was elegant and surrounded by naturalistic planting.

My Solution:

I designed a formal rectangular pond with wall and water blade and redesigned the surrounding area to echo the formality and lines of the house.  Formality was reinforced using pleached Hornbeam for screening and various topiary balls as a lower layer. Loose naturalistic planting provided a juxtaposition to these formal shapes, softening their lines and giving the design a contemporary edge.  Planting was designed to lighten this shady area.

Riotous, colourful, fragrant and sun loving planting was used for impact either side of the attractive porch and steps. Rows of flowering trees provide rhythm, creating a sense of movement, drawing the eye along paths to front and rear gardens. A shady, dry border was redesigned using plants that cope with such conditions focussing on texture, form and varying shades of green. Clipped evergreen shrubs provide structure and rhythm, contrasting with looser herbaceous planting, grasses and ferns.

A green and white scheme of shrubs, topiary, perennials, ferns and grasses illuminate the shady front garden providing interest throughout the year. The space was brightened by painting walls of the basement flat, white. In time, my clients will replace old, grey concrete slabs with light reflecting pale gravel. In front of the flat, the green and white planting gives way to a simple scheme of topiary balls, ferns and grasses providing year round structure, texture and movement without blocking the light. This is enhanced in the summer with blue Geranium.

Thousands of bulbs were incorporated throughout the design to provide a succession of interest from autumn through to late spring.