This large, detached property in an exclusive area of Colchester was rather let down by the front garden. Tired surfacing and unimaginative planting made this beautiful home appear unloved and unwelcoming. In addition, there were significant problems with drainage – namely excess rainwater would surge in from the road and flood the garden.
Our clients wanted plenty of space for parking, a warm welcome, easy maintenance and a garden that reflects both the property and the area it sits in. Privacy was an important requirement and happily for us, the beautiful hedge and the mature trees were to be retained….as garden designers we truly value these environmental assets and always aim to preserve them if possible.
The clients also asked us to tackle the drainage problem and to make provision for a bike shed. They were also unhappy with the existing entranceway into the house, feeling that the step to the front door was too narrow and somewhat unsafe.
Shade was of course a challenge. As beautiful as they are, the privacy hedge and the mature trees do affect light levels and therefore impact upon planting choices.
Drainage was the biggest issue. The design needed to address the levels of the driveway in respect to the road and the house. Whilst making adequate provision for excess water to drain away quickly and efficiently.
Potential planning issues: in 2010 Government decreed that large amounts of impermeable landscaping in front gardens would be subject to planning permission. This, quite rightly, was at attempt to reduce the risk of flooding. To negate the need for lots of paperwork and planning permissions, our garden designers would need to choose materials wisely.
The new driveway features gravel stabilisation matting with a 10cm mulch of aggregate. This surfacing option is in keeping with the age and style of the property, but just as importantly, it allows water to percolate through to the soil below. With a little bit of re-contouring to adjust the levels, a gravel driveway is a great way to tackle those drainage issues.
To lead visitors to the house and/or bike shed, Katie designed an attractive pathway in buff square concrete pavers to compliment the colour of the gravel. That front step was enlarged and adorned with a beautiful limestone tread.
We’ve used timber sleepers to create low retaining walls around the planted areas. This is a nice visual effect with a very practical element. It prevents and growing material getting mixed in to the gravel. This should keep weed invasion to a minimum and plus, it keeps the lines of the driveway nice and neat for that manicured look and feel.
The planting plan for this front garden design focuses on bringing colour and texture into the borders. Shade loving plants are the order of the day. Katie has included low growing Ajuga (bugle) who’s spreading habit and plentiful blue flowers inject a splash of interest. Also in the planting palette are Digitalis (foxglove) a woodland plant, some shade tolerant ornamental grasses and for contrasting shapes and winter interest, some classic box balls.
The final piece of the jigsaw – and the client’s favourite part – is the lighting. Sadly we don’t have any pictures to show you of the garden at night. However, I can tell you that subtle, low level lighting highlights the shapes of the trees and plants whilst guiding visitors to the front door. It also enhances the view from the front windows. On dark winter evenings, the lighting in this garden creates a safe, homely feel.
As with any large project, a little disruption is inevitable. These clients wisely chose Holland Landscapes to bring their garden design to life and were pleased with the speed, efficiency and high standard of their work.
If you would like help with your front garden design, get in touch with the Tapestry Design Studios team. Our garden designers will be very happy to discuss your options with you.