Making exciting features out of difficult situations
Lots of gardens are an ‘awkward’ shape. These plots, however, are likely to create the most interesting designs with careful input. This garden at Rowlands Castle forms a triangle around the house and falls away steeply into a ‘Sink Hole’ where lots of water accumulates in the winter. In fact, the water runs, well trickles, through the garden.
My clients wanted to have a seating area in the shade at the point of the triangle which where the water traverses the garden in winter. Along the side of the house a grassy bank was much higher than the path and as it was in the shade and was part of the view from the kitchen we agreed that it should be a border. So it needed a retaining edge. We developed a gently curving shape and decided to make the retaining edge in Oak sleepers. From here I developed an idea for the ‘Rotunda’ with the sleepers continuing and curving into a bit of a spiral. With the sleepers set on end and curving round it was possible to leave some standing off the ground so that the water could flow under this feature. The path leading to it was made crushed sandstone from a local quarry so that the water flow here was still no problem.
Coming out of the patio doors into the garden there was a drop of six brick courses. Here we raised the patio up with steps around one side and an oak decking walkway on the other where the level was higher. Some more Oak sleepers where used to make seating in two places, one of them at the edge of the raised patio such that between the patio, the step and the garden there were 3 heights to the edge of the seat. Interesting and perfect for growing children.
The existing lawn was reshaped and a little terracing in the borders next to the sinkhole together with some tall planting softened the drop in level just enough for comfort. We made a second patio at the corner of the house and the area of the garden at the end of the house was left for the children’s play area.