Our client wished to renovate her 1970’s house and garden in a small village that forms part of the South Downs National Park. The brief included the creation of a new garden, terraced over several levels, with a swimming pool, paved sun-lounger and dining areas (with a view to die for!). The client is also a keen kitchen gardener, so the specification needed to incorporate a greenhouse, cold frame, extensive raised vegetable beds, fruit cage and tool shed.
The property sits on half an acre of steep hillside with long views to the sea and a distant lighthouse. The geography that provides these incredible views also means an extremely challenging fourteen-metre rise between the front entrance gate and the rear boundary fence!
Working with the natural contours, whilst taking into consideration covenants that prevented a material change to the existing landscape, the design broadly followed the previous levels but used green oak to provide a link to the sea and natural surroundings. Above the pool level, a new circular terrace with bespoke seating was created. This was reached by way of informal oak steps through a grassland meadow, offering far-reaching views of the sea and lighthouse. The meadow was inter-planted with fruit trees and sloped down to the new rectangular pool. Here a greatly enlarged York stone terrace provided an extensive area for entertaining and relaxing.
The bespoke pool house included the pool equipment, with heating provided by an air source heat pump, controls for the automatic pool cover, toilet/guest facilities and a sitting room with deep windows and views of the pool and out towards the sea. This created the perfect refuge from hot sun or on rainy days.
Intermediate terrace levels provided wide bands of planting, offering scent and structure. Malus trees were been planted throughout – the same species being used to retain continuity and simplicity. Leading through the centre of the garden, the generous paved steps had natural stone risers and provided a far more relaxed and easy access route. The levels were critical, as ‘landings’ provided access to both left and right sections of the garden. The oak was been wired and planted with evergreen Jasmine and the tallest wall was disguised with a long hedge of deciduous Viburnum lantana to add to the frosted winter landscape.
The garden was lit with a selection of light fittings, including purpose-made oak bollards, and includes a fully-automated irrigation system.
Commenting on the finished garden, our client wrote:
I presented Louisa and the team with a challenging site – very steeply sloping, on multiple levels, with a high degree of soil erosion over a bedrock of chalk. I expected, and got, a wonderfully sympathetic treatment with diverse and sustainable planting. What I did not expect was the truly magical effect Louisa created with a wildflower meadow, that has transformed an unused and inaccessible part of the garden into a sheltered belvedere that feels as though it’s a natural part of the landscape. Every time I see it, I am astonished and delighted afresh.
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