The plot was a 3.5 acre garden, and two paddocks, one at four and one at five acres. The latter was an ancient ridge and furrow landscape which had been ungrazed for some years. Our brief was twofold, an overall masterplan for the property to run in tandem with a detailed plan for phase one, which was the entry courtyard. The client was concerned that visitors could not easily recognise where the front door was. Additionally they wandered into the family areas of the garden without invitation.
The masterplan had also to take into account:
• A new swimming pool
• A re-working of the existing terrace
• Conversion of an existing manege to a tennis court
• A leisure building.
The main entrance courtyard has a stone path which emphasises the offset front door to the house, and discourages visitors from walking into the private parts of the garden. The courtyard works as an ‘anteroom’ to the main garden, but still offers views of the surrounding landscape. It also functions as an unloading space – there is room to pull vehicles in but there is permanent parking elsewhere on the site. The cedar pergola blocks views on to the family terrace from the more public area of the courtyard. It also lends support for climbing roses to scramble over, giving a scented gateway to the garden.
From the main terrace the views of the Cotswold landscape seem to expand in all directions. The large Prunus lusitanica topiary pieces squat on the lawn, waiting to move when you turn your back. The distant paddock directs the eye to the Cotswold landscape beyond. The paddock, with its ancient ridge and furrow patterns, was researched extensively with an ecologist and is managed for wildlife. The wide lawn sweeps through to the family garden, with its swimming pool, York stone terrace, pergola and spa. The two parts of the garden are united by its strongest feature – a curving dry stone wall which serves to separate the formal garden from the paddock beyond. It also acts as a path, a seat and a play feature; it is mounted by simple stone steps to the rear.
The planting is a mixture of herbaceous, grasses and shrubs with some topiary. The mood varies from traditional near the house to a more contemporary treatment further away.
The garden was completed over a three year period from 2006 to 2009. What makes it unique is the quiet understatement of the design along with fusion of traditional materials and contemporary design. The scheme moves seamlessly from fairly traditional near the house to a more contemporary treatment deeper into the plot one goes, underpinned by a common vocabulary of traditional materials and craftsmanship.