The Urban Retreat Garden
The Urban Retreat Garden was one of 5 competition winning entries submitted to the APL in late 2015 (Association of Professional Landscapers). The brief for this competition was to design either a back or front garden which should include a water feature and some integrated seating for a client which we were allowed to write our own brief for.
I chose to design a garden for a professional couple whose children have left home to go to university. They have added a contemporary extension to their Victorian house to give them a large inside/outside social space with flexibility to have family celebrations when the children are home as well as a place to potter and relax at the end of a busy working day. They enjoy gardening and would like to have an interesting outside space that is easy to keep looking good, with a choice of areas to both sit or work at different times of the day. They would like the garden to reflect the modern extension to the house as well as incorporating subtle sound, texture and movement to enhance the feeling of privacy when they are outside.
The granite terrace leads straight out from the house to extend the living space in warmer weather with a pebble rill and water wall marking the end of the upper level. Steps through the rill lead down into the sunken garden designed to give a feeling of privacy - a space for relaxing, dining or just pottering, surrounded by plants. The planting beds are 450mm high with coping stones running round the top allowing extra seating, a place to sit whilst gardening or just somewhere to put a cup of tea.
The colour palette for the planting uses mauves, pinks and glaucus foliage - dark undertones with luminous cool blue and white overtones. Deep burgundy statement plants include a multi-stemmed Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ and Cotinus ‘Grace’ contrasted with softer frothy planting using Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ Foxgloves ‘Pam’s Choice' and Salvia nemorosa ‘Amethyst’. The planting combinations have been chosen to give a long flowering period as well as contrasting textures.