This walled garden, of about half an acre, near Newton Abbot, Devon, was dominated by two large conifers which, like most of the planting in the garden, had outgrown their space. Overall the garden had no sense of order and was difficult to maintain and keep weed-free.
The client, a busy professional, is also a keen and knowledgeable plantswoman. She was looking for us to provide her with a garden design which would be fairly easy to maintain yet had year-round interest. In short, our brief was every garden designers' dream.
As garden designers, we felt that it was our job to simplify the garden at the same time as creating a range of plant habitats from the formal to woodland in which a wide variety of species would thrive. Our garden design required the removal of the conifers and some of the existing trees that were past their best. They were replaced by over twenty smaller, more decorative, trees. Access to all parts of the garden was improved by paths of brick, stone and hoggin. These paths and their different materials allowed us to create a 'journey' through the garden and the various habitats created.
This journey allowed us to create garden areas with differing planting themes and seasons of interest. The winter/spring garden was focused in the woodland areas amongst new but mature, specimen birches, such as Betula pendula, Betula nigra and Betula 'Jacquemontii'. Under these, the red stems of dogwood shine out and are underplanted with snowdrops and Cyclamen coum. Massed blue Crocus tomassianianus give way to stately crown imperials in the sunnier areas. The summer/autumn garden focuses on colour and scent, with numerous David Austin English roses and a double herbaceous border, designed to flower all summer and into autumn. In the hot, south-facing heat of the sun, a herb garden has been supplemented with a few artichoke plants and a fig.
Elsewhere in the garden the landscapers we appointed, as part of our project management of the garden construction, re-paved two large patio areas, built new stone steps, repaired and built retaining walls and formed two level circular lawns to replace the old large, irregular, and uneven lawn. The same Totnes based landscapers were also responsible for the new water feature, which we designed to encourage wildlife.