The rear garden of this modern house lacked atmosphere and appeal and the owners were at a loss to know how to tackle the challenges it posed. Luckily they were willing to give me a free hand and I was able to move structures, bring in new textures and add lashings of colour! By reducing the size of the lawn and gravelling the areas close to the house and adding new free form beds planted with roses and perennials, I was able to bring the garden to the house and allow the owners year-round access to their plants. The planting is low-maintenance and high impact with colour, fragrance and movement for much of the year. Understanding the owner's US origins and her love of the sea and plants lead to the concept of a Nantucket garden.
Transformed from a dull green structure, the shed (which is close to the kitchen windows) now looks attractive, particularly with brighlyt coloured flowers in the window boxes. This colour treatment is commonly found along the NE seabird of the USA.
I moved the summerhouse from one end of the garden to the other, which created a new focal point from the house, released some planting space and used an empty corner. I then painted it grey with white trim and black detailing to make it smart and fit the Nantucket theme the owner and I had agreed on.
By reducing the lawn size and installing deep band of gravel which flowed round the house, I was able to create beds, based on the shapes found in a paisley shawl, which fit together while allowing access for maintenance. From the house they look like a series of mounded planted zones, where colours and shapes are repeated with subtle variations.
The grey of the newly sited summerhouse is echoed in silvery foliage of Artemisias. The furniture on the new deck has recently been updated with large rattan sofas.
The Nantucket theme continues with the use of roses and plants which wave and dance on the breeze. Shingle brings a coastal atmosphere, even though the property is some 15 miles from the sea.
When viewed from the conservatory the summerhouse and deck are glimpsed through the verticals of Perovskia, Verbena bonariensis, and Iris leaves. Although not a large garden, the technique of concealing parts of it with the clever use of planting, adds to the feeling of discovery and surprise.
As the sun sets and shadows lengthen, the colours change in contrast to areas of deep shade cast by the mature trees.
The addition of an oak timber deck which includes an inset pool with fountain offers the owner a new place from which to sit and enjoy her garden. The planting works well from this side as well, giving views up the garden to the conservatory and beyond.