We are often approached for advice on how to transform gardens of new build houses. The builder has finished the house to a high standard and yet the garden fails to match this. Our challenge is to create a garden with features and a planting plan which will add character and interest to the garden.
A recent design project in a new build house in Reading provides a good example of how simple it can be to turn an uninspiring garden into one with impact and where our client will look forward to spending their time in.
The ‘before’ garden, as left by the builder
- A patio had been laid along the back of the house but it is narrow in depth.
- A retaining brick wall has been built between the top terrace and the area below due to the garden’s split levels.
- A picket fence has been placed on top of the brick wall which encloses the outlook.
- The builder has built steps which allow access down into the large area of garden below. These appear too narrow considering the length of the brick wall.
- There is no lawn but a huge expanse of soil which needs levelling out.
Before we started…
Our client could not wait for us to start work before they took down the picket fence the builder had put on top of the retaining brick wall. This has made one of the biggest changes and immediately opens up the garden. They can now look onto their new lawn without literally feeling fenced in!
What we did
- We laid a new patio in Indian ‘Mint’ Sandstone paving in a random pattern. The new patio is wider in depth and we laid the paving slabs right up to the edge of the brick wall. As well as looking better this space has a more practical use providing a larger area for table and chairs.
- We constructed new steps to the lower part of the garden. These are approximately a metre wider than the original steps and we have used the same Indian Sandstone pavers as the patio in their construction. The new steps now make an attractive feature and have been finished off with a semi-circular landing at their base.
- After levelling up the lower garden by adding soil we laid a new lawn. The impact is instant providing a splash of colour. The curved shape of the lawn as it wraps itself around the planting borders also adds interest.
- A timber edged shingle pathway has been built mimicking the curve along the edge of the lawn and planting borders and draws your eye down to a patio area we installed at the bottom left hand corner of the garden. This was constructed using the recycled paving slabs originally used by the builder for the top patio.
Our clients now have a garden where the top and bottom levels link together effortlessly. Interest has been created through installing new features and using soft curved lines which break up the expanse of space in the lower terrace. The finishing touch will be an injection of colour in the new borders provided by Alison’s planting plan.