Archway Family Garden Build

Project Description - Archway Family Garden Build

Archway Family Garden Build by Acacia Gardens:

Project Cost: £18k

Garden Designed by Taryn Ferris Garden Design

To design, build, and plant a rear family garden (approx. 45 sq meters) on a property in Archway following building works.

  1. Design a rear garden that offers screening from overlooking neighbours to the left
  2. To incorporate an area of lawn for sitting and playing during summer
  3. A dining area for four people – ideally in a sunny position
  4. Low maintenance planting for a busy family
  5. Timber fences to be replaced along rear boundary and right-hand side of the garden

Description of the Garden Before the Project Began

The garden was not in great condition and after building work, it certainly had gotten worse. Existing sandstone paving were covered with soil/mortar. All of the lawn area had turned into a muddy patch and most of the plants have not been looked after. The fences on the right and at the back were in quite bad condition as well.

View of the house before the landscaping work

View of the house before the work

View of the garden before the landscaping work

Garden before the work

Challenges Faced with the Garden Build and Landscaping

Access was through the house and the new extension. The bi-fold doors allow width of access at endpoint, but all materials, chosen plants and soil, had to come through a hallway, a narrow dogleg, past the stairway, and down a short set of stairs. Width of root balls/canopy for any specimen plants had to be able to fit through this space.

The neighboring garden is higher, so there was extra support required on the back to make sure there is no pressure on the fences. Also, the drainage had to be improved by adding grit on all soft landscaping areas.

Description of Landscaping

The garden design by Taryn Ferris Garden Design focused on making the most of the full-length views offered by newly installed bi-fold windows across the full length of the back garden. Bands of planting across the length of the garden were interspersed with two areas of lawn for play and relaxation. A patio area was devised where the garden receives the most sun. Old Indian sandstone was cleaned and reused. The grouting was finished with compacted sharp sand as the client liked the old look and wanted weeds to grow through the gaps.

Millboard steppingstones were supported via plas-pro composite frames, individually to not interfere with the plants between.

Small specimen fruit trees have been chosen to provide focal points, partial screening, and edible surprises. The ‘Orchard’ as we have dubbed it can be developed to accommodate other small planted fruits in the borders like strawberries, or perhaps a climbing blackberry.

Finally, the fence on the right and back was built using traditional lap panels and adding bespoke made slated trellis to match the colour, we installed a ‘secret garden gate’  for children to use and play with neighbouring children.

Description of Soft Landscaping

Whist a tiny plot, the North West aspect of the garden resulted in an intense path of sunlight across the back end of the garden and quite deep shade towards the front end. It is a garden of two halves: ornamental shade lovers unfurling in successional planting by the bi-fold doors and sun-loving ornamentals and edibles along the back border. The garden is bisected by a middle garden bed which plays host to the central anchor – a Prunus x yedoensis multistem. Semi-shade loving Anemanthele grass has been used through the center to shroud the back of the garden – and its plank paths – from full view. Three pleached Carpinus specimens provide foliage screening from neighbors along the left side of the garden. The timber fence line has been clothed in fragrant yet well behaved Trachelospermum. A centrally placed terracotta feature pot keeps a Rubus fruticosus ‘Loch Ness’ from expanding beyond its bounds, and provides a focal point in winter time.

Garden Landscaping Materials Selected and Why

Minimising the use of hard landscaping materials to allow the garden to remain more ‘naturalistic’ in feel – not overworked, or heavily built upon.

Indian sandstone paving that pre-existed the build outside the back door was reused and laid with permeable jointing. Weeds in the cracks welcome!

The use of composite Millboard as plank paving was chosen for safety and longevity reasons. It allowed the scheme to remain in keeping with a rustic naturalistic feel. Given the minimal use of the Millboards and the free-draining nature of their positioning, it allowed surface water to percolate to the lawn and garden where it fell.

As the ground was both very heavy clay, and heavily compacted due to previous building work, efforts were made to loosen and improve the soil. Horse manure was specified to boost nitrogen as nutrient-hungry edible crops and fruit trees were to be planted at the sunny end of the garden. Horticultural grit was also added to improve drainage. Spoil was removed from site to allow for patio excavation, which contributed to the already lower level of the garden (10-15 cm) compared to the levels of surrounding gardens.

Prominent Landscaping Features

Stepping stones leading to patio area
Pleached trees and cherry tree as a focal point
A hidden gate for children

Summary of Finished Landscaping Project

With swathes of polished concrete in the new open plan kitchen the owners were seeking the antithesis in a contrasting naturalistic garden. A return to softness and nature, and from which they could step off the polished to the hewn through full-length bi-fold windows. The garden has a lawn for children to play on, an area for dining, and room for a small feature tree – a fair bit to pack into the space. The design plays with whimsy, reinstating a previously dilapidated ‘secret’ Alice in Wonderland doorway to next door’s garden, and packed full of edibles in the way of soft fruits.

Client Landscaping Project Feedback

“We are very pleased with the results. Our garden designer Taryn Ferris Garden Design has really worked closely with Acacia Gardens to make sure our work was delivered as per design and on budget. Landscaping was carried to great standards and we so excited with our garden.

The team was hard working, efficient and cleaned the flooring every day. Also, there was not even a smallest scratch, considering all materials and large trees were going through the newly renovated property.”

ProLandscaper ‘Small Project BIG IMPACT’ Awards

We are very happy to announce this Landscaping project was shortlisted for 2020’s ProLandscaper ‘Small Project BIG IMPACT’ Awards.

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