title. Exposed Front Garden

date. 2019

location. County Durham

The Brief : The existing garden had been designed for these clients as a cottage style garden. They had very much enjoyed this garden and loved the selection of plants and informality of the design however as time passed maintenance of the garden became more and more difficult and unfortunately the garden became over-run with weeds. The clients wanted something that was more manageable for them, a place where they could sit and admire the views across the valley, and where there remained a selection of cottage style plants (with as many rescued as possible). A number of ideas were proposed to the clients and they opted for a raised planter design. One of the ideas also included reference to the plants Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland where one of the clients was from; they loved this idea and wanted it to be incorporated into the design. 

Before

The design

The process

After

Sometimes you can add effects to your garden for free with the help of plants in neighbouring gardens. In this picture I transplanted a Spirea from the old garden into one of the raised beds which meant that its wonderful yellow leaves were against the magnificent backdrop of the black Elder (Sambucus nigra). A designer's delight but at no cost whatsoever!

Once all the planting was in and the clients were sat in the garden, they commented that it really was like being at the coast. They loved the final effect and topped it off with a family party the following weekend. 

This garden is on top of a hill, is almost exactly south facing and there is nothing between it and the prevailing south-west wind. This meant that whilst I re-used what cottage garden plants I could, the plants that I added followed the coastal theme of the Wild Atlantic Way. As plants suited to the coast they are used to high levels of wind and exposure. The chosen plants are also pretty hardy, again in preparation for some of the harsh winters experienced by County Durham.

In the picture above thrift (Ameria maritima Rosa) is in the foreground with the lovely Stipa 'Ponytails' behind. 

The wall to the edge of the drive was planted with alpines again suited to the conditions such as Helianthemum, Sedum and cushion forming Phlox. 

One key element of the planting was the combination of Fuschia magellanica with Montbretia. These plants are classically seen lining the narrow road-ways of the Atlantic coast of Ireland but they are also great coastal plants and tolerant to wind and sun. 

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