Sloping Woodland Garden

Colchester, Essex

About This Project

About this sloping woodland garden

This underused plot was languishing behind a semi-detached house on the outskirts of Morcombe. A beautiful new conservatory gave the owners a great overview of the garden. And, naturally, they wanted to not only improve the view, but they also wanted to make the most of this good-sized outdoor space. However, a steep slope made parts of the garden inaccessible to less-mobile family members – it also impeded regular maintenance.

Shrubs were overgrown and “tired” and the existing wooden shed had seen better days.

What was on the wish list for this garden?

Our clients wanted to make the most of the area at the far end of the garden. As well as having more usable space and beautiful vistas from anywhere in the garden. Just as important though, was to make the journey around the garden easier for everyone, as well as creating a relaxing, easily accessed space right next to the house.

The challenges for this sloping woodland garden design

The team at Tapestry Design Studios tries to ensure that every garden we design suits the client’s build budget. It’s common for garden designers to recommend terracing a steeply sloping garden like this one. However, the build budget (although generous) wasn’t going to stretch to the earthworks and retaining walls needed.

It was also important that as much of the garden was easily accessible to friends and family who are not confident walkers.

The design

Instead of formal terraces, Katie suggested re-contouring the slope to accommodate a patio close to the house. This leads to a flat, circular lawn for games, etc, and then a gently sloping bank takes visitors down to a woodland area.

The woodland area is accessed by a winding path with steps cut into it to allow a more gradual descent. The soft landscape is used to shape the sloping area and to create a pleasant and interesting journey around the garden. It also looks fabulously inviting from inside the house.

Planting to compliment the woodland garden design

At the bottom of the garden, the woodland area has been planted with fruit trees. These not only supply beautiful blossoms in springtime and delicious fruit in autumn, but they also offer privacy too. The tree canopy blocks the view from neighbouring windows and is the ideal place for a seating area.

Planting in the woodland area features low maintenance shrubs, herbs, and perennials. Hellebores (Christmas rose) provide colour and wildlife interest in early spring and have striking foliage all year round. Evergreen ferns and tall foxgloves add to the seasonal interest.

To soften the fencing around the garden, Katie has planted tall plants and climbers that will give all-year-round interest. Scented honeysuckle, exotic-looking fig and the unusual but highly attractive Chocolate vine help to make the garden feel secluded and special.

The hard landscaping materials

For a neat, traditional look with plenty of drama, Katie specified using sawn limestone pavers. The sloping path with those all-important steps is built on Nida gravel stabilisation matting so that it doesn’t slide to the bottom of the hill. The steps are edged with timber sleepers which bring a natural-looking feel to the garden. The surface of the path is gravel….another very natural material.

Building the garden

The garden was built to a very high standard by Holland Landscapes of Colchester

Are you struggling with a sloping garden? Contact Tapestry Design Studios for help to make the space more manageable.

Garden Design
sloping gardens, Slopping Garden Design, Woodland Garden Design