Thursday, 13 May 2010

Contemporary Garden Silchester Berkshire

Although it’s not quite finished yet, here are some photos of my most recent project, a contemporary garden in Silchester, Berkshire.

The garden is fairly small at around 18 metres square and is overlooked on all sides. The brief was to create a contemporary garden with clean lines and not too much planting. The clients wanted to introduce some structure and interest to the garden, creating distinct areas for eating, relaxing and catching the last of the evening sun. There was an existing water feature to be retained and a statue to be incorporated into the scheme.

I created three different areas within the garden, each with its own function. There is a built in seating area in the corner that gets the last of the day’s sun. The dining terrace outside the kitchen has been extended and enclosed with a raised border. The terrace outside the lounge is enclosed with trellis screening and an archway to the rear of the garden – it will be finished with black rattan sofas and a coffee table. A pergola covers the built-in seating area and runs along the bottom of the garden which gives this area a distinct character – cool and shady in the heat of the day. The built in seating area is given extra privacy by fixing 50mm batons horizontally to the wooden pergola posts set into the walls, giving it an intimate, enclosed atmosphere.

Raised borders have been constructed using blockwork walls with a rendered finish. The walls are painted white and all wood is stained black – the old fence panels which were painted a bright orange before are still resisting the black paint and need a few more coats.

Paths are self-binding gravel which crunches beautifully underfoot without giving that horrible sinking feeling of walking on ordinary gravel. I love using this material it is a nice contrast to other hard materials and can be swept with a soft broom. All paths are edged with 100mm square black granite setts where they join the lawn.

The planting features low, square box hedges that anchor the corners of the walls and the pergola posts, providing structure and emphasizing the garden’s architecture. The rest of the planting is a mixture of silver and dark purple foliage and grasses. There are some palms (Butia and Chamerops) at the client’s request, and I think they work well with the other, mostly foliage plants. There are some gorgeous double white paeonies (Duchesse de Nemours), some of my favourite low-maintenance perennials (Veronicastrum, Echinops, Japanese Anemones, Hemerocallis) to give splashes of seasonal colour. We were too late for bulbs, but later on this year I’ll add some Alliums, Crocus, Anemone Blanda, Snowdrops and Tulips for spring interest. Climbers (which still need tying in) have been chosen for scent, and seasonal colour – Trachelospermum jasminoides, Actinidia Kolomikta, Clematis, Lonicera, Vitis Coignetaie, Vitis Vinifera.

The statue is used as a focal point at the end of the pergola. A mirror supported in a custom built frame serves the dual function of reflecting the statue and hiding a particularly ugly, but necessary piece of construction. The mirror also creates a false perspective, giving the impression that the garden continues beyond the boundary. I wrote at length about this kind of trick of the eye in a previous blog post.

Finishing touches will include some tall pots with box balls, cushions for the built-in seats, new furniture and lighting.

If you'd like to transform your garden get in touch. All contact details are on my Web site.


Claire, Plantpassion said...

it all looks lovely, - very clean lines and contemporary look, - personally i'd have likes more plants, but if the client wants less....

Anonymous said...

Love it! How much would something like the seating area and overhead pergola cost?

Linsey said...

It's hard to be totally accurate. I've had a quick look at the areas involved and compared it to prices for other gardens built recently and I'd say you're looking at around £8000 plus VAT. Please get in touch if you'd like a plan prepared - I can do this through the mail if you supply the measurements.

If you like this garden have a look at these:-