Victorian Style Garden Design

Colchester, Essex

About This Project

The brief: Total transformation required

This large detached house sits in a generous corner plot sits on the intersection between two busy residential roads. The whole garden looked very tired and run down. Our clients asked us to completely refurbish the outdoor space, with hard landscaping and planting in keeping with the house. Katie loves Victorian garden design style and couldn’t wait to start work.

The site challenges

As you can see from the photograph, this garden lacks privacy and is open to scrutiny from every passer-by.  There is a distinct step up from the pavement to the garden – in fact, the difference in height is around one metre in places. This means that Katie needed to design a robust but attractive retaining wall to replace the existing structure which was crumbling away. The garden faces South East and has no shade. Plants will need to tolerate exposure to strong sunlight.

Creating a Victorian garden design for the 21st Century

At Tapestry Design Studios we are passionate about making gardens that suit properties, neighbourhoods, AND the people who are commissioning the design. At times this can be tricky, but this garden was just crying out for a certain style of garden and the owners readily agreed.

Katie drew upon Peto, Lutyens, and Jekyll for design inspiration.  Interestingly, these well-known garden designers were all rose to fame around the period this property was built.

The landscapers have replaced the crumbling retaining wall with a much stronger version. To define the boundary, Katie has topped the wall with bespoke made railings.

The strong symmetry of this garden reflects the style of the house.  A classic black and white tiled path divides the garden into two and leads visitors from the gate to the front garden. A planted rill runs the entire length of the plot. Thus making a feature of the long narrow shape of the garden. Each side perfectly mirrors the other.


One thing you can’t see very well in the pictures is that Katie has opted for an alternative lawn.  Harking back to classic Victorian garden design – this garden has a chamomile lawn. if you step onto the lawn you are immediately treated to a waft of this soporific herb. Gorgeous!

A standard bay tree punctuates the planted rill to add height. Small species magnolias screen the front windows and lend a feeling of privacy.

Privet hedges and Buxus balls give the planting some structure and plenty of winter interest. The beds and borders emulate the style of Gertrude Jekyll and are generously planted with herbaceous perennials. Iris, lavender, and nepeta plants look fantastic and, will bring lots of interest from bees and butterflies.

Adding kerb appeal has likely increased the value of this home. It may also have boosted property prices in the rest of the neighbourhood – after all – who wouldn’t want to walk past this beautiful garden every day on their way to work?

What our client says

“Our garden is perfect for our house. It looks beautiful and really stands out” Miss VH


This garden was designed by Tapestry Design Studios and built by Holland Landscapes

Does your garden need a total transformation? Contact Tapestry Design Studios today to see what your budget could buy.

Looking for inspiration? Click here to read our article about front garden ideas

Garden Design