This sloping back garden and tiny front garden were transformed using a planting design by Tapestry Design Studios
A detatched new-build chalet bungalow in a quiet cul-de-sac in Beccles, Suffolk. The front garden was typical of new-builds. It had no discernible character and was, in fact, a blank canvas. The back garden is medium sized and already had a small patio and a path to the garage. There was no lawn and no landscaping other than a substantial retaining wall and a very steep bank.
Clients Graham and Sally are used to managing a larger garden and are no stranger to caring for plants. However, they felt they needed help with two aspects. Making the front garden more hospitable. And a planting design for the sloping back garden.
They were looking for low maintenance planting with all year round interest.
As you can see from the pictures, the sloping back garden is rather unusual. Access for maintenance is good towards the front of the slope. Being at just above waist height it can be reached without stooping. The back of the border however is out of reach for anyone of average height and reach. There are some ladders to help. However, they’re not designed for frequent use.
In the front garden, its tiny size could be a challenge for some. Fortunately Katie at Tapestry Design Studios has a real penchant for planting design for small spaces. The biggest obstacle in this area was that the soil was shallow and compacted. Thus limiting the number of species that would thrive here.
The clients opted for our Planting to Impress package. Garden designer Katie Moyes was very pleased to help this couple to personalise their outdoor space. Her first move was to visit the Graham and Sally and see the garden for herself.
Spending two hours with Graham and Sally in their garden gave Katie a real opportunity to get to know them. To create a personalised design, Katie likes to learn as much as she can about the clients likes and dislikes, their gardening knowledge and abilities and the way they envisage using the space for the foreseeable future.
On returning to the studio in Colchester, Katie set about creating one planting design for the sloping back garden and one for the small front garden.
In the front garden, Katie designed a border to embrace the pretty picket fence that was already in place. In a small garden, a fence can sometimes appear as visual barrier – a kind of “keep out” signal. That’s not what Graham and Sally wanted. Yes, they liked the picket fence and no, they didn’t want their front garden to become a dog toilet, so the structure did have a function. By planting either side of it, the fence is instantly prettier. It helps turn the new-build property into a home.
Typically, the garden in a new-build property is a blank canvas. This one however was furnished with an unusual and some would say, dominant, feature.
Katie’s planting design is all about softening the hard lines and leading the eye away from the timber retaining wall towards something more interesting.
Using Graham and Sally’s favourite colours in a range of easy care plants and shrubs, this planting design will mature into a lush and vibrant border. Glossy leaved shrubs, ferns, spurges and hardy geraniums intertwine to create interesting textures. Different coloured foliage offers a treat for the eyes and throughout the year, the couple can expect to see transient pops of colour from hellebores, bergenia, hardy geranium and low growing bugle.
To supplement the planting and further soften the industrial look of that retaining wall, Katie suggested that Graham and Sally created container garden with seasonal bulbs and blooms.
“We moved into a brand new house in July 2017 and inherited smaller front and back Gardens than we had previously enjoyed. We decided to make the back garden a social area where we could sit and enjoy the garden rather than become slaves to it. The main challenge was a slate covered bands and retaining wall across the full width of the back garden.
We contacted Tapestry in the autumn and Katie very quickly arrived and trudged through the sticky, muddy garden area to inspect what we had. She asked a series of searching questions about what we wanted, types of plants we liked, colours, use of the garden, ease of maintenance and many more. She took account of the features we already had or were planning to incorporate and was determined to make sure she took our thoughts into account when proposing ideas.
A week or two later, a folder arrived with detailed plans showing where plants would be located and details of each plant with maintenance requirements etc. We were so impressed with the reflection of our thoughts and her ideas that we were very happy to accept her design. We then ordered the plants through Katie and these duly arrived a few weeks later. I then had the task of planting around 120 plants on the steep bank and just finished it in time for the harshest weather of the winter. I feared for many of the plants but only lost one which was very satisfying.
Now in the midst of summer, the plants have grown, many have flowered and some are eagerly anticipated. We sit in the garden every day that the weather allows and enjoy the view.”
In addition to the bank, Katie’s also came up with a plan for planting two narrow strips of ground in the front garden with a simple but creative design using plants that I wouldn’t have thought of. Again we are delighted.
Katie also provided some advice for planting large containers on the patio area which again we followed.
Although these were small projects for Tapestry, our new garden was very important to us and we were always treated as an important customer with superb care and attention throughout.
I can not recommend Tapestry and Katie enough and am certain that she would repay the trust any customer put in her as she did for us.
Graham and Sally
This garden was created using our “Planting to Impress” garden design package. Click here to find out more about garden design packages