A winter garden enhanced by decorative metalwork, brickwork and evergreens

This winter garden incorporates hand-crafted ironwork and brickwork to enhance the sculpted evergreen framework

Winter garden with frosted handcrafted metal gates, box hedges and topiary
(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Caught in the grip of a hoar frost, the innovative design elements of this beautiful Manor House garden are brought to the forefront and spectacularly showcased.

The wintry scene is spellbinding, with decorative ironwork garden features and considered landscaping, combined with carefully sculpted topiary and clipped yew, highlighted against the frosty backdrop. 

This dynamic garden has been planned so it offers life and energy in every season, and you can incorporate some of these elements into your own backyard ideas.

Decorative metalwork gates in a winter garden with sculpted evergreens

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The successful design is the work of award-winning garden designer Julie Toll, who has been developing the gardens for the past 12 years, since the current owners moved in.

Working within the inherited footprint of the six-acre garden, Julie has ingeniously introduced a new Courtyard Garden in the former car parking area and up-styled and replanted existing areas. 

Courtyard garden in winter with frosted grass, domed beech topiary and decorative brick pathways

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Hand-crafted brickwork detailing and more contemporary, hand-forged metalwork features have helped create new bones. 

These new architecturally strong, decorative and practical features are most evident, laid bare, in winter and are among the many winter garden ideas to try.

Frosted domed beech topiary and snaking brick paths in a courtyard garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The new Courtyard Garden has uniquely designed brickwork path wending through dome-topped standard copper-beech topiary. 

Warm and ruddy in winter, the bold silhouettes of the copper beech topiary contrast with a frosted, fountaining grass, molinia, before giving way to stands of winter-white Betula utilis subsp. jacquemontii.

Winter garden with snaking brick pathway, white birch trees, frosted grass and beech domes

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The landscaping materials complement the Manor’s mellow, old brickwork, which is also echoed in the color of the beech topiary – points to consider when incorporating original garden path ideas.

‘While the materials are quite traditional, in keeping with the 16th century property, the serpentine pathway, inlaid with hand thrown bricks, brings a modern, informal twist to the design,’ says Julie.

Taracotta planters by door planted with evergreen topiary swirls and skimmia japonica

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Julie has repeatedly used large terracotta urns and planters, 'to create a color cohesive design across the gardens’, demonstrating how useful containers planted with evergreens can be when planning a winter garden

Many serve as focal points, drawing visitors from one garden room to the next. Planted with box pyramids and topiary swirls, the containers reinforce more formal characteristics of the garden.

decorative metalwork gates in a frosty winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The introduction of a series of decorative metalwork garden gate ideas brings an exciting, more contemporary feel to the otherwise traditional architecture of the gardens. 

Working with craftsman, Davey Boyall, founder and creative director of Arcangel metal work, Julie has helped realise bespoke designs. 

bespoke metalwork gates in a winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The Peacock Gates, a fantail of powder coated steel, frame the outlying parkland vista. Their design is a nod to the historic presence of peacocks in the grounds. 

The main entrance gates fulfil the owner’s wish for something, ‘jewel-like but not too fussy’.

The Walled Garden’s entrance gates depict twin pear trees which lead into a revitalised orchard and wild flower meadow.

Spiral steel water feature sculpture by Davey Boyall of Arcangel Metalwork in a winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Water feature ideas also add another sensory element. 

At the centre of a more recent, productive quadrangle, there’s an energetic spiralling steel fountain, ‘Spin’, by Davey Boyall.

In contrast, a quietly babbling font is tucked in among the fruit and vegetables, used for watering. 

vegetable garden with terracotta rhubarb forcers and box hedging in a frosty winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

There is symmetry in the vegetable garden which is laid out in quadrangles in a sheltered corner of the walled garden.

Rectangular raised beds, ‘which makes for ease of netting brassicas and caged soft fruit,’ occupy the lower half of the vegetable garden and feature traditional brickwork paths or edging. Space-saving, espaliered fruit helps delineate the areas.

Victorian style cloches and terracotta rhubarb forces protect crops from subzero conditions.

Terracotta rhubarb forcers in frosty vegetable winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

The remaining two quadrants are spanned by radiating, raised-bed wedges of ‘rusty’ Corten steel and dry stone walled herb beds.

Innovative and contemporary, yet in colour-keeping with the weathered brick walls and terracotta vessels, they reinforce the garden’s winter sepia.

They are screened and divided by stilted hornbeam hedges, among the best trees for privacy and screening.

box parterre frosty winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Diagonal brickwork resurfaces the pathways between the original formal box Parterre Garden at the front of the house, warming the previously monotone classical layout.

The concentrated geometry of frost-rimmed evergreen box, Buxus sempervirens, box hedges and shapes, provides winter structure and interest, when plants are least evident.

Topiary lined brick pathway and silvered lavender mounds in a frosty winter garden

(Image credit: Marianne Majerus)

Considered planting and a coordinated, innovative use of hand-thrown brick and hand-forged steel have helped to subtly move a traditional garden forward. 

These enduring hard landscaping elements shine particularly in winter, when the greater garden sleeps.

Jacky Hobbs

Jacky is a freelance gardens writer and photographer