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The Routes of design.

Our clients Chloe and Karl have a large garden in Easton, just outside Norwich for which they have lots of ideas, and which requires many different aspects of development. We re- designed both front and back gardens and worked on a phased plan for them to build the garden of their dreams in an achievable way, considering the larger than average plot. It was easy to select the highest priority – replacing the back garden patio, which was laid in terrible brightly coloured concrete slabs and in a poor state of repair. One of the difficulties facing us with this area though was the number of destinations the patio had to provide routes to; the side entrance to the garden, the patio doors, the kitchen door and a games room/gym. The original patio achieved this by simply being a huge area of paving, but we wanted to bring planting right up to the south and west facing walls of the house, and to create journeys through planting to the destinations.

Being able to get from A to B easily is really important in gardens but the most direct route is often a straight line, and this is seldom the most attractive shape to introduce to an area – close to the house that is already formed from straight lines. We prefer to use curves for paths, creating a flow and a sense of movement that acts as a springboard for the other forms in the garden design. One of our favourite ways to make strong dynamic shapes with paving is to cut each slab individually to fit into the overall shape of the path or patio. Once the individual slabs are working together with the outline shape they form an integrated composition bringing detail and ornament to a garden from the ground up, and adding uniqueness to that which would otherwise be a purely functional aspect of a garden.

Interlocking different components of a garden is a useful way of creating detail and interest in a confined space; this is achieved by using the curved paths, as described above, in Karl and Chloe’s garden. By curving the paths outwards from the kitchen door for example, and then back in again to the small semi circular patio outside the games room doors, a space is left in front of the wall of the house with no paving,  we used this as a planting space. Because the lawn on the other side of the path is curving in the opposite direction to it, another space is created between grass and path, and this also forms a bed. This means that our clients walk through their planting on their way to the games room with beds on both sides of the path. The interactions of patio circle, curving paths and lawn shapes laid out together in a rectangular garden create dynamic and eye catching forms. The strong shapes and different pockets for planting distract the eye from immediately noticing the overall size of the garden – denoted by the surrounding fences which would otherwise be the dominant feature.

We plan to develop the planting and additions of woodwork trellis arches in coming seasons, with later phases covering the construction of a bespoke shed/log store and the front garden with cottage style planting and a fence made from willow hurdles set into a heavy oak frame. For practicality’s sake we have used a straight path leading to the front door but we have accentuated this linear approach by using pairs of Japanese maples to give the feel of an avenue. Whilst the back garden will be planted with architectural small pines, columnar cypresses and yews with Mediterranean shrubs, the front garden will have our own take on a cottage garden style. We will use the soft billowing forms of different herbaceous plants set around the Acers and some woodland shrubs.

Because our clients have a detailed plan of the ideas mentioned above, that we developed in close consultation with them, they know that they can build the garden in phases, at their own pace and taking on some aspects themselves without losing the coherence and continuity of the overall design. If you would like to collaborate with a design company and come up with a phased construction plan that would allow you to achieve the garden of your dreams then contact The Real Garden Company for a free first visit and estimate.