Sloping Garden, Somerset

The Garden Brief

To create a cohesive design across the entire garden forming a masterplan for the whole site.

The existing garden existed of terracing immediately off the back of the house, a vast lawned slope, a weird space where a pond had previously been and some oddly dotted large shrubs.

The aim was to cohesively bring the garden into one overarching design with considered vistas and materials to compliment the local rural location. A swimming pool, pool house, entertaining terraces with both sun and shade form the practical framework to the brief.

Sloping Garden Designs

The Garden Design

The house sits at the bottom of the sloping garden. I looked to create a design which drew you out from the house and created inviting and easy routes into the garden.

I kept the existing retaining walls which form the existing paved terraces. This minimises unnecessary groundworks, as the terraces have good proportions. However I redesigned the terraces. I broke up the expanses of paving with planting. I brought planting borders right up to the house to soften the house into its landscape. With the clients we choose a natural stone, Buscot Limestone, to repave the terraces. This limestone is a complimentary tone to the warm coloured local stone of the house and retaining terrace walls. 

The kitchen is at the very bottom of the garden. I utilised the width of the garden in the design and wrapped the garden around the house. as a result this draws the kitchen into the garden from a place where it previously felt isolated, at the bottom of a long lawned slope. A broad path sweeps all the way from the kitchen terrace to the pool house bringing width and unification.

I introduced a new native hedgerow boundary, which brings further unification and interest all the way down the garden. At the same time it is also provides habitats and nutrition for the local wildlife.

Stepping out from the kitchen I created a gravel courtyard nestled in planting, a lovely sun trap to enjoy. The previously un-enticing view from the garden of lawn and old fence is now inviting. The courtyard space is bursting with textural planting and a relaxing place to sit.

Wide, shallow steps and broad paths draw you up from the kitchen terrace into the garden and then onto further terraces to discover. The paths form beautiful vistas, framed with abundant layers of planting and tree canopies above. Seating areas are found along the way, perfect for different times of the day whether seeking shade or sunshine.

The garden unfolds as you move through with moments of revelation and terraces to relax in. The planting opens up in wildness and breaks down in formality along the route. Planting matrixes become larger and more simplified moving away from the house. I introduced a perennial meadow before the pool for more informal planting, diversity and interest. 

An existing beautiful copper beech tree separates the pool area from the garden before. The tree provides perfect middle of the day dappled shade to a new terrace, which links the house to the garden beyond. This new terrace is at an axes of paths and forms a hub to the garden. 

The location for the swimming pool was in place of a previously filled in pond. I used the existing retaining wall of large local stone boulders to create a carved natural enclosure to the pool area. Surrounded by large and textural planting, I nestled a sunset seating area into the boulder wall.

I designed a pool house to reflect the local and natural materials of the area with a contemporary aesthetic. I used local rubble stone walls to form vertical planes. These support a floating cantilevering timber clad roof. The roof appears to float lightly above the walls as it rests on slim powder coated black steel posts. These elegant posts emerge from the walls and allow a 30cm gap between roof and walls. The roof is louvred at the front, slats open up to allow strips of light through. This creates striking shadow patterns and breaks down the division between the area under the roof and the open terrace. 

The pool house seating area is slightly sunken to provide a natural enclosure to the space. The kitchen is clad in timber to reflect the natural materials of the surroundings. The fantastically talented Robyn at Fawn Interiors designed the beautiful finishes and fitting to the kitchen, joinery and soft furnishings within the pool house.

A light touch is brought to the rest of the garden. I left the stream untouched, except for a new timber boardwalk to replace the rotten one. A new rough grass and bolder sloped landscape brings opportunity for local wildlife habitats nearby to the stream.

Within the design a dilapidated deck is removed and the the area levelled to accommodate the trampoline and table tennis table. Within running and jumping distance to the swimming pool.

The rest of the garden with its large lawn and abundance of apple trees is left untouched. I designed this garden whilst working in the Artisan Landscapes design team.