The site for the original garden is in a suburban setting, set on a slope the space was not overlooked and had uninterrupted views into local woodland – a major factor in the client’s purchase of the property.
The house is a mid-century design with a new modern glass extension planned and so a new garden was needed to fit with this new addition. The clients were deeply into this aesthetic and so the space needed to represent this.
The new garden aims to set a terrace floating in the clouds above a tranquil glade, with emphasised views into the woods beyond. A cubist representation of the local landscape runs through the garden below.
Reflecting pools of water bring the sky down below the terrace, soft forms and textures in the planting give the impression of clouds to contrast the modern lines of the design. The view out of this glade to woodland beyond is paramount – this is framed and reflected, with the garden focusing out towards this horizon borrowing the view.
The terrace is a large open space which frames the view of the woods beyond and mirrors the form of the new extension. It is built in poured concrete with a satin finish to give a consistent unbroken horizontal plane which reflects the weather and gives a sense of rising above the woods beyond.
The Northern end of the terrace is screened from the lower neighbours with a wall built in square knapped black flint with a long window dressed with steel thins. This wall focuses the view out to the woodland and gives a private space to entertain whilst screening any view down to the neighbours below. Movable low seating cubes provide places to relax whilst not blocking the view and there is room for a table and chairs in the more sheltered and shaded space provided by the screening wall.
These pools focus the eye out towards the woodland and the water’s smooth surface brings the reflected view of the woods closer in towards the house. The pools add to the floating sensation, with the sky mirrored below the terrace bringing even more light into the extension. The water in the top pool runs smoothly over a subtle infinity edge before calmly cascading down to the lower pool below. This lower pool is aligned and level with the lawn, giving a similar reflective surface for the view from the secluded spot at the top of the garden. Both pool edges are cantilevered to continue the floating effect down through the levels, but the main body of the pools are deep enough to allow you to dangle your feet or paddle in the cool water.
Above the lawn is an intimate secluded terrace surrounded with lush foliage. Positioned at the top of the slope there is no possibility of any overlooking neighbour and the terrace commands views down the garden. The planting around this terrace frames a view down to the lower reflective pool and into the woodland beyond.
Along with the flint screening walls throughout the garden, there are a number of flint cubes. These are placed to lead the eye though the garden and also act as seating. They use the same tight square knapped flints as the screening walls and add a sculptural and structural element to the garden.
Much of the planting uses sun loving and bee-friendly perennials, many with a billowing airy habit to add a cloud like quality, and to contrast the hard concrete lines and cubed forms. The planting focuses the eye inwards and away from the boundary.
At the bottom of the garden woodland edge planting give the illusion of the garden blending into the woods beyond.
Cubes of evergreen hedging provide structure throughout the garden and help lead the user through the space, acting as barriers and way points at turnings and junctions. Loose topiary domes in the bed opposite the terrace add structure whilst symbolising clouds in the sky above the valley of the lawn.