Colchester, Essex

L-shaped garden - re-united!

Client's brief

The request for this project was for a visually stimulating and low maintenance garden. Whilst the clients enjoyed spending time viewing their garden and being in it, they found it increasingly difficult to manage and awkwardly shaped. 

They were open to new ideas as long as a section of the boundary stone wall remained visible. Practical considerations included space for the compost bins and easy access to the shed, which was at the furthest point in the garden. Although the existing garden had lost its way there were some much loved features that had to be retained. These included a section of stone paving, a collection of treasured artefacts and an ivy-clad boundary fence. In addition, many home-grown plants needed to be reintroduced to the new planting scheme. To be able to comply with this request they first needed to be identified and then removed and stored off-site until building works were completed. 

"The garden is an awkward L-shape which could have been approached as two separate spaces. However, in order for the beautiful section of undulating stone wall to remain visible my idea was to introduce a bold sculptural boundary feature, mimicking the stone wall profile and thus linking the garden spaces.  Having worked with corten steel before, I knew its warm, rusty tones would work perfectly with the traditional red-clay brick of the house and the time-worn characteristics of the stone paving.

As this was an ambitious project to explain to others I fashioned a scale model in order to communicate the design vision, not only to the clients, but also to the structural engineers who prepared the drawings for the fabricators.

To integrate the flowing lines of the structure with the rest of the design I repeated the radial theme. This was done by introducing a circular brick terrace and serpentine gravel path that winds its way from a seating area towards a new propagation station complete with compost bins. This is all neatly screened by another section of steel walling.

In order to relate the new materials to the existing stone patio, a number of slabs were lifted and re-used as threshold transitions within the design.

The client's plants were supplemented with a restricted palette of foliage stalwarts in green, lime and dark burgundy, inter-planted with long-season flowering plants and grasses."

This garden was awarded 'Gold' at the 2019 APL National Awards for a build project value between £25-£35K.  Karen recommended the contractors who achieved the award and worked closely with them and the specialist team who fabricated and installed the cor-ten structure. 

Client's Review

Karen really listened to our wishes and produced a very individual design which was both exciting and satisfied all the needs we had discussed. She does not design according to a predictable formula, but tackles each project in an original way. We are really enjoying time sitting and contemplating it all [and] dreaming of what's to come.
Garden Design Plans

'Architect-style' Garden Design Services?

This formal level of design service is most appropriate for clients considering significant investment in a completely new garden.
Although there are many stages in the process from initial visit to a completed garden, not every project requires the same level of design input.
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