Large Family Garden Project in Hayes
This garden is on a corner plot, wrapping around the house on all sides As you can see from the before images, the back garden had been damaged by the building of an extension with wrap around terrace. Also, the front and back garden were almost completely cut off from each other by a fence and poor layout, so a key element of the brief was to create flow between both spaces.
Feng Shui in Garden Design
The garden is owned by a lovely Chinese couple. Which lead me to consider the principles of Chinese Garden design, specifically Feng Shui to address the problem of flow and lack of cohesion between the front & back parts of the family garden. I have traveled in China and experienced the sense of tranquility that Chinese gardens. As I developed the design, it was surprising how the principles of bagua; having specific areas for each element worked in the space.
As you can see from the masterplan, I created flow by removing the fence and adding a new pathway bi-secting the path to the front door. The brief also required a dining space in the front garden by the kitchen, which necessitated the addition of a screen for privacy and due to the slope a deck to give a level area for bbq-ing and entertaining. Also East is the perfect location for friends and family according to Feng Shui principles.
The west area is connected to the energy of children and creativity so it made sense to put the play equipment in the adjacent zone plus from a practical point of view the adults can keep an eye on the kids as they relax on the deck.
The front garden was almost completely screened from the road by a large existing hedge, so we filled the gap back in November 2019 with Portuguese laurels, to create a private space. We built a hardwood deck, an attractive privacy screen from cedar batons and a playframe.
The extension at the back of the property has a series of windows looking directly out at the back garden so it’s been designed with lots of seasonal interest planting and the creation of a relaxing space, away from the road. I also added a water feature, as the soothing sounds add to relaxation which can be heard from the adjacent study/family room. As it is in the South-east zone it’s also an excellent position for a water element as water energy leads to money and abundance.
This project is a good illustration of why you shouldn’t wait until Spring to think about getting your garden done, as it’s very unlikely to be completed in the same Summer even without a Lockdown hiatus. I started the Design Phase in August 2019 and we finished the final phase of planting in August 2020.
I presented the design in September 2019 then we started on site in November, so far so typical. BUT by December we were having the wettest winter on record and we had to down tools until February*
Back on site for a few weeks, at least enough time to finish the brick driveway and get the turf down and then Lockdown happened! One thing I have realised at least in Lockdown your clients are at home every day to water their gardens 😊 Look at that lovely healthy lawn.
Once they relaxed the rules on construction, we got cracking on the gravel garden, water feature, oak pergola, granite paving and electric gates for main entrance & driveway gates were all installed.
Phase one of planting went in at the end of May, which you can see in these images. The Gravel Garden with mostly spring and summer flowering perennials, I added plenty of height so the planting can be seen from the raised living room adjacent.
With seasonal interest planting added to the border around the lawn and pergola beds. The pergola will support a large wisteria which had outgrown its existing frame however I’ve added another white later flowering variety at the other end, to extend the interest through the whole of May and into June.
Then the addition of more plants and job done, well until we go back in late October to plant the bulbs, as well as regular quarterly maintenance visits. I can’t wait to see the pergola next year once the Wisteria is on flower!
*NB – Working on waterlogged soil can damage the soil structure which is why I cringe at those Grand Design type projects on the TV were diggers are being driven constantly through a massive mud pit which will eventually be the garden!