A Garden for Two or For a Party

This garden was designed for a young couple with a very specific brief. Their garden had to function on two different scales: they wanted a generous social space for dining out and entertaining, but they also needed more intimately-proportioned areas for use by only one or two people at a time. They requested a water feature, and above all they wanted no lawn.

The challenge was then to create a space which allowed a coherent synthesis of these different functions. Spatially, this was managed by creating a simple parterre outside the front door, that acted as a kind of ‘turning circle’, leading off to the different zones. On the more shaded side of the garden, I created a long, formal rill with benches at either end, providing an elegant vista from the large bay window. In the sunnier area, I designed a generous, elevated terrace, surrounded by raised planting beds that would double up as seating walls for large gatherings. I made use of the awkward top corner to create an outdoor kitchen, complete with log store and wood-fired oven.

It was important, in a garden with no lawn, to maintain a good balance between the planted areas and the hard landscaping, so that the space still felt verdant and relaxing. The hard landscaping was softened further through the choice of materials: self-binding gravel in the parterre section to give the effect of a miniature French park, buff-coloured paving elsewhere with a sett detail around the rill, and mellow, natural stone for the walls.

The planting style served to further differentiate the two main garden zones. Around the dining terrace, the raised beds were filled with Salvia officinalis, Lavandula, Helianthemum, Cistus and sun-loving perennials. The shadier areas included Buxus sempervirens, Choisya ternata, Viburnum tinus, ferns and Hellebores.




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