Despite the fact that this intimate garden in Chelmsford, Essex occupies a small plot of land, it creates a lush, jungle-like atmosphere with a healthy variety of plants, interesting lighting, and many secret niches. The landscape designers Aralia Garden Design were commissioned with redesigning not only the backyard, but the front yard, rear garden, and driveway of the property as well! With so much space to work with, they were able to create an entire ecosystem surrounding the house, giving it lush green world all its own. Aralia worked to create a look that was in keeping with the Victorian character of the home by incorporating stonework and climbing vines, but they also added contemporary and unexpected features that give this garden the feeling of an exotic escape. The final result is a sensual escape from busy town life, as the garden offers many private, relaxing spaces completely sheltered from the modern world beyond.
This garden has won various awards, including the 2012 SGD Award for Best Small Residential Garden as well as the 2010 BALI Landscape Design Excellence Award. So what are you waiting for? It's time to explore this award-winning masterpiece.
Here's a first impression of the backyard garden as you enter from the side of the house. This arched trellis has become almost invisible beneath thick, healthy laters of climbing vines – a feature that makes this garden look as established as the old Victorian home that occupies the rest of the property.
Here's a view of the house – a rare view, as this garden has grown to shade or cover many of the surfaces of the home's lower half. In this image, the garden extends all the way to the home's walls, offering a small brown chair underneath the window. This design allows the yard to be filled with as much rejuvenating green space as possible, taking advantage of this walkway that would otherwise be filled with a typical cement sidewalk and perhaps a few garden tools leaning against the fence.
Right away, you can see how the materials incorporated into the garden's construction -bricks, stone, metal archway – are in keeping with the stately Victorian appeal of the house, while organic curves in the path and the walkway walls adopt a more contemporary attitude. The family is able to enjoy a lovely view of this contemporary and classic garden from the window, their eyes following the curvy stone path as it winds its way into the leafy paradise beyond!
For a town home nestled close to its neighbors, a latticework gazebo like this is a perfect way to give this garden an added sense of privacy . A variety of patterns in this corner of the garden make this nook a visually rich space, with horizontal lines on the chairs, rectangular bricks, dark green latticework on the wall, and the thin, curved lines of the metal gazebo structure.
A peek down into this backyard section shows just how lush this garden is! A quiet walk through this densely shaded space is more than a breath of fresh air – it's a total escape into a different world.
Here, the Victorian feel of the latticework and brickwork gives way to a jungle atmosphere full of unexpected features. This winding path brings you to a hidden chair that looks more like a pod than anything else, providing a highly intimate shelter for a quiet conversation or afternoon read. At night, this cozy space is illuminated by two contemporary orange lamps that give off a low, rich glow.
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This lovely snapshot of the orange lamps shows how the modern, fluid nature of these lamps provides an interesting contrast for the dark green ferns sprouting up throughout the garden. It's a fitting juxtaposition of the natural and the man-made that make this garden such an interesting place to tour!
Perhaps the most notable thing about this garden is the wide variety of plants that are thriving within its walls. Here, there are several different grasses and vines growing on a vertical space, with longer marsh grasses near some small herbs and a large assortment of other shade plants. In other areas of the garden, you've even observed palm trees growing next to ferns! There are leaves of all shapes, sizes, and colors, from broad, flat ivy leaves to thin, waving grasses, all of which grow well in the backyard shade. A few blooms here and there provide pops of color in this abundant green space that seems to offer a different ecosystem wherever you look!
A final glance at this garden shows the depth that these landscape designers have achieved with their complex and layered design. Here, you can see layers upon layers – with a larger tree in the foreground and tall grasses in front of lamps in front of a sheltered pod in the background. This garden has been designed to completely immerse a casual passerby in a world that's filled with living things, rich colours, and quiet spaces – it seems that this captivating space offers a surprising discovery wherever you go.
For an inspiring look at another lush garden, have a glance at this terrace makeover on the Mediterranean Coast.