From play garden to adult garden

Children growing up and leaving home is often a trigger to finally ‘do’ something with the garden. Sometimes it is  the absence of footballs and projectile hazards that reduces the need for a large expanse of lawn and allows more interesting planting options; or it may be that time and energy once spent bringing up a family can now be channelled into creating and maintaining an attractive outdoor space. This month’s case study shows one of these ‘change of use’ transformations:

Large area of grass plus low raised beds with shrubs that need to be pruned hard each year to keep them in check

Slippery shady paving (at a very odd angle) forms the route from the house to the garage

Messy borders with shrubs out growing their spaces and ‘spreaders’ taking over despite the clients’ best efforts

During my first visit, I suggested turning the garden around and having a new seating area so that the clients could look at a view of planting and mature trees, rather than the houses on the other side of the road. One of the clients stood and marked the spot as an aide-memoire for the concept design stage

During the initial consultation visit,  the main problems the clients were having with the garden came to light:

  • maintenance had become an unrewarding fight with the existing plants
  • views from the sun room were boring
  • views from the patio were unappealing and being overlooked by the houses opposite felt uncomfortable
  • there were too many straight lines in the garden

After this meeting, in February 2018, I provided the clients with a change of use diagram that informed the subsequent planning process.

The concept plan was agreed in March 2018 and a contractor was engaged to prepare an estimate to build the new garden

All the existing elements of the garden were removed and the new raised beds and circular patio were installed (August 2018)

The planting was planned and completed in two phases – structural plants (shrubs and ornamental grasses) in September 2018 with the perennial infill plants going into the ground in April 2019

The second phase of planting included a client coaching session to help get to grips with other areas of the garden…

The finished garden: Evening sent by the client once all the plants were in the ground – I believe a glass of wine was to hand when the photo was taken! This garden will only get better over time, as the plants mature and the wide range of herbaceous perennials help to create a colourful and interesting vista from both inside and outside the house

“Thank you very much for advising and helping us on Friday, we finished the planting yesterday. The garden looks absolutely wonderful with your great design, Lee’s (Creating Eden Ltd) groundworks and the beautiful plants. It’s an amazing transformation…it’s such a pleasure sitting on the bench with a glass of wine, looking over the plants, knowing that they are all where they are for a reason and that it will look even better as time goes on.”

Job done!

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