Thursday, 13 January 2011

Garden Design Ideas - Long, Narrow Garden, Woking, Surrey

The build for this long, narrow garden in Woking, Surrey has just started and it demonstrates some of the methods you can use to deal with a long, narrow sites.

This is an unusually large plot for a suburban garden and the clients were not using the whole garden. They wanted a plan that would enable them to use more of the garden and make it more interesting. The brief was to keep the scheme soft and as natural as possible with quite a lot of lawn. They also wanted space to grow plenty of plants. They were open to ideas and wanted a scheme that was a little different.

These first four shots show the route up the garden:-

And this is the route back down the garden:-

Here is the plan I designed for the new garden:-

I have used sweeping curves to give the garden movement, draw the eye away from the boundaries, and reduce the tunnel effect of the long, narrow site. I have introduced some height near the house by using some chunky, free-standing wooden arches. There is a self-binding gravel pathway under the arches and through the planting on either side. There is plenty of planting as the client is a keen gardener and has the time and inclination to be outside looking after the plants.

There is a level change of around 1 metre from the top to the bottom of the garden, rising away from the house. To address this, I have designed some curved turf steps with risers constructed from railway sleepers cut and set on end around the curves. Some of the borders will be raised and their retaining walls will also be made from railway sleepers cut and set on end. The reason for using railway sleepers is to keep the garden within a reasonable budget and also avoid using brick or blocks to construct the risers which would not have fitted with the clients’ requirements for a natural looking garden.

There is a secondary seating area half way up the garden, sited in an area which catches the evening sun. The idea is to give the clients a reason for going up the garden and enable them to use more of the garden. The seating area will be screened with a curved hornbeam hedge. I like using hornbeam for screening – it is fast growing, drought tolerant, loved by birds and easy to keep clipped into a tight shape. The purpose of the hedge is to form a green wall at the rear of the seating area and I want it to be cut into a formal shape so that it helps to emphasise the curves of the garden.

The border by the left-hand boundary fence at the rear of the garden will be planted with a mixed native hedgerow. I intend to include Acer Campestre, Euynymus Europaeus, Rosa Canina, Prunus spinosa, Cratageus monogyna, Rosa Rugosa, and Viburnum Opulus.

At the bottom of the garden is a utility area for recycling, composting, and general storage. This area is bounded by railway sleepers set on end at a height of 1.8m with a gap in between each sleeper. This screen will look like a chunky Venetian blind on it’s side. There is also an archway through to this area.

One way of giving interest to a long, narrow garden is to split the space into distinct areas. I had to give the impression of different rooms without erecting hard barriers. I created the illusion of rooms within the garden by dividing the space into three distinct areas and giving each one a different feeling. The area adjoining the house is for dining and sitting and has a more formal feeling with a paved terrace. The simple arches will lead people around this area into a slightly less formal area with the smaller seating area as it's focal point. The third area will be given a more relaxed feeling with loose, native planting and some new trees making a pleasant walk to the storage area with it's unusual screen.

If you’d like some more garden design ideas for long narrow gardens have a look at this link.

If you’d like help designing your garden please visit my Web site for all contact details.


Dave Marciniak said...

I love the flow in this one! Maybe you think I'm nuts but as an American designer, I've always kind of envied the long, narrow back gardens you folks have over there. In the suburbs, the spaces I have to work with tend to be more short (from back of house to end of property) and wide. The proportions suck!

Anyhow, I love your work. Glad I found your site!

Linsey said...

Hi Dave - thanks so much for your kind comments. I love designing tricky spaces - long and narrow, or really steep gardens.

I have posted an update already, can't remember when exactly, but if you look around you'll find it. The garden is almost finished now and I'm about to post some more photos, so do keep coming back.

Thanks again.