from start to finish
Mid-Century Modern Estate
Situated on a mid-century modern estate in Beckenham, the external aesthetic of the estate are tightly controlled and the residents are enthusiastic about how their estate looks, so much so, that a few of them have banded together to improve the landscaping. The estate sits in a site which is about an acre in total with a large communal area in the centre. The project was created when a plot was emptied for a new retaining wall build so it needed to be totally re-planted. The only remaining item was a beautiful mature Acer japonicum which was removed by the builders, stored and replanted after the wall was finished, thankfully it’s now survived for a year! Due to the aspect of the site a dry planting scheme was recommended.
The brief was to create a low maintenance, colourful, modern garden, with year round interest and a move away from the safe shrub planting on much of the estate. Hiding the wooden bollards and also make sure the scheme look attractive from all angles. The plot is in a particularly exposed, sunny site and it was decided to try and create planting which after the first few weeks could survive without watering.
Due to these constraints the plant choices are on the whole hardy Mediterranean shrubs; Cistus x pulverulentus, Euonymus fortunei, Loricera x purpusii, Lavandula augustifolia.
Grasses included Anemanthele Lessioniana
Calamagrostis x acutiflora and
Stipa Gigantea. Both giving structure and visual interest for most of the year whilst the hardly perennials; Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, Salvia nemovosa, Bergenia ‘morgenrole’ , Sedum spectabile, Artemisia absinthium, Anemone Japonica and Hellebore sternii give colour through the seasons.
After its first summer, the first half of which was particularly dry, as you can see all the plants have established well so the dry garden experiment has gotten off to a good start.
Working with a self-managed estate consisting of thirty one separate houses can be a tricky business, the dry land equivalent of shark-infested waters. Happily Carole from Design Heights was up for the challenge, and from initial planning to final implementation the process was amazingly smooth. A year later the whole estate is reaping the benefits of a professional and creative planting scheme, which will no doubt endure and give pleasure for many more years to come.