The client need an attractive and usable garden for their small cottage in the North Yorkshire dales. It was the only garden the property had and was a long narrow strip of land between to drystone wall with a very difficult access. The garden could only be reached via the neighbour's backyard and then up over 1.5 m up a twisting narrow set of steps. From there the garden sloped uphill its full length meaning all the materials had to be moved on and off site with bags and buckets.
To break up the narrow feel of the garden and to provide level areas within the garden it was terraced to form four separate area with with stone walls of reducing height. These walls had the added advantage that non of the soil had to be removed from the site, instead being reused behind the retaining walls. The steadily reducing height also created a sense of depth to the garden by the effect of perspective. This hard structure was then softened by planting to create relaxing garden environment.
This gravel courtyard had recently been enclosed with new brick wall creating a private area in the corner formed by the side entrance to the property and the kitchens. A lot of the ground under the gravel was loose rubble; up to a depth of 600mm in places. The garden was also the access between the gateway and the side door.
The new garden need soften the very hard appearance to the walls and provide interest: while provide a sheltered seating area to eat out on, access to the existing door and to a new door providing access to the kitchen.
As most of the garden had little or no topsoil; raised beds where constructed, which were faced with the same bricks as the walls around the garden. To add further interest a raised pond and water feature was positioned in the middle of the longest wall.
To pick up the stone detailing on the property new stone flags were used to create a path from the gateway to the existing doorway which was broken up by staggering the edges of the flags. The same flags were used to create a seating area, with different sizes of flags being used to break it up. The remaining area was topdressed with gravel; some of which disguised areas of topsoil to allow plants to be introduced to soften the gravelled area.
This large pond was set in a large existing lawn to reflect the back drop of the existing trees. A paved area was set at the back to sit out on and positioned and shaped so that it appeared to jut out and over the water, tying the pond and lawn together. The pond was designed to be informal, blending into the surrounding contours of the garden with the water coming right up to the edge of the lawn. The pond had no filtration but was planted up with waterlilies and wide planting shelves at each side.
The ground was clay with a high water table and so combined with the desire to form a neat edge, with the lawn running right up to the water, the pond had to be built out of concrete This meant constructing a temporary road from the drive up to the pond and pumping several wagon loads of ready-mix concrete in to form the pond base.