The clients wanted a Japanese feel to the garden but without the maintenance burden of raked gravel beds or water features. Practical considerations also had to be accommodated such as easy access for bins and a shed for bicycles.
From the street the front garden let down the house: tiled raised beds created a narrow approach to the house and left the rest of the garden cut-off and unused.
The raised beds and all the crazy paving were removed and replaced by grey sandstone paving laid on a full mortar bed with Random pattern joints. Features which couldn’t be removed (such as the neighbours’ brick wall) were disguised with plants or screening.
It was necessary to excavate the heavy clay soil and replace it with a suitable mix for the chosen plants. Massive glacial boulders, bamboos and miniature pines will contribute to the Japanese feel. The installation of horticultural fabric will help reduce watering requirements and minimize weeding.
Practical considerations were accommodated by the inclusion of a bike shed, water butt and bin storage area all reached by a wide path and to be hidden by the planting.
The elegant grey sandstone paving was chosen because it is both practical and complements the boulders. The lush foliage was planted with sufficient space to accommodate rapid growth. The grey planters by the door help tie the house and garden together.
The first impression of the garden is of a bold design, yet within it the combination of elements provides detail and interest. Despite substantial planting the garden will require little maintenance and is generally drought resistant.