Large Rural Garden

Writtle, Essex

About This Project

A bit of background information

This fabulous period thatched cottage sits in the centre of a large garden which in turn nestles into the rolling Essex countryside.  The owners had recently added a new extension to the rear of the property and wanted to improve the landscaping. The aim of this rural garden design was to a) open up the views from inside the property b) make the garden more interesting, inviting and usable and c) add value should the owners ever wish to sell.

The client brief

This spacious garden wraps around the property and measures a generous 25m x 40m. Our clients asked us to improve access to the front door so that it could be used more often. They also asked for somewhere to sit and enjoy uninterrupted views of the countryside as well as play areas for their children and pets.

When we first visited this garden, the client mentioned that having sloping ground so close to the property made it feel a little claustrophobic. They were looking for a rural garden design solution that would let more light into the house.

Naturally, with such a characterful property, the clients were keen to retain a traditional feel to the garden – one that reflected the house and the surrounding farmland.

Project challenges

The biggest problem for this plot was drainage. The Essex clay soil tends to hold water, and apart from a ditch to the rear of the property, there was virtually no way of diverting water away from the house.

Fortunately, our clients had a generous budget to work with. This allowed for substantial groundworks to improve drainage and re-contour the garden.

Plus points definitely outweighed the challenges. We had great access for landscaping machinery, fantastic borrowed views and a beautiful property to compliment the garden design.

About this rural garden design

The first thing you’ll notice about the before and after pictures is the patio. Where there were once steeply sloping banks quite close to the house, the design has opened up the area to create a relaxing patio. Natural tumbled limestone lends the patio a traditional look and feel that works well with the property and its surroundings.

A gently moulded border smothered in wildflowers hugs the patio area. The wildflowers complement the wider landscape and are incredibly easy to maintain. Our designer specified Meadowmat for cladding the banks. It’s a wildflower turf that provides instant groundcover and year on year appeal.

To access the main part of the garden, we designed some sturdy steps in the same limestone as the patio but with brick risers for a rural feel. Again, for that country garden feel, we’ve included a white picket fence supplied by The Garden Trellis Company.

The front of the house now has context.  There’s a straight path bordered by scented evergreen shrubs with formal lawns either side of it. A fitting entrance to such an impressive house.

Elsewhere in the garden is a wonderfully informal area for picnicking and play. The ground has been contoured into terraces for easier maintenance. Parts of the native hedge surrounding the garden have been removed to create viewpoints.

Planting needed to compliment the character and position of the property. This meant cottage garden style planting that is also with rabbit-proof. For the greatest impact, the planting plan revolved around a limited palette of robust plants. Scented shrubs and perennials such as lavender, nepeta and foxgloves are punctuated by standard bay trees.

What the Clients said

“I made contact with Holland Landscapes and their designer Kate as I was gathering quotes for some relatively extensive hard and soft landscaping work we had planned for our garden. I was impressed by Chris and Paul’s professionalism and passion for their work and knew immediately they would be easy to work with on our projects.

They were patient throughout the design and preparation process and Kate came up with some fantastic planting schemes that were in keeping with what I had asked for. She was also unfazed when I changed my mind about a major part of the design and showed her talent when she came up with a completely new idea she had seen at the gardens of Hatfield House, meadow-planted slopes in a sunken garden. Paul is clearly plugged into the latest technologies and products in his industry and he suggested using a ready-planted meadow mat for immediate impact. This has become the highlight of our garden, thanks to their combined efforts. The Holland Landscapes teams who worked at the house were friendly, respectful and hardworking, all important elements when they are at your home for months at a time.

As with all large projects we had some issues that came up; drainage issues, a few plants died, and these were dealt with promptly and professionally. I cannot recommend Holland Landscapes enough. They are not the cheapest landscapers out there but you get what you pay for; a beautiful, unique, inspiring and high-quality garden that will stand the test of time. I will not hesitate to hire Holland Landscapes and Tapestry Design Studio again for future works.”

See you again soon and have a lovely summer in the meantime.

Best regards,


Contact the Tapestry Design Team

This garden was built by Holland Landscapes

Garden Design
Large Garden Design, Rural Garden Design