This beautiful 18th century walled garden is filled with glorious cottage garden planting

Although set within centuries-old bones, the romantic gardens around this former laundry to a country manor house have been created over the past 13 years

walled garden in denbigh gazebo
(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

This dreamy walled garden might be set within 18th century bones, but it is young at heart, created from a blank canvas in just 13 years by its owners, Tom and Jennifer Williams.

Enjoying stunning views of the Clwydian Range in north east Wales, the garden mixes romantic, cottage-style planting against formal structure.

Undaunted by what was an overgrown field when they took on the property in 2008, Tom and Jennifer have transformed the garden into a romantic delight.

See: Cottage garden ideas – charming cottage garden plants and design tips

walled garden Denbigh gazebo seating area

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

Along with the one-acre walled garden, is an acre around the house, which was built in 1770 and was the former laundry and dairy for Llanrhaeadr Hall, once Tom's ancestral home. Following a sensitive renovation, The Laundry has been converted to provide holiday accommodation.

Both avid gardeners, Tom and Jennifer’s garden design at The Laundry is the first garden they have created together. 

‘Our influences include Monty Don’s garden, garden designers Arne Maynard and Tom Stuart Smith, and the gardens of Wollerton Old Hall and Holker Hall,’ explains Jenny. 

See: Monty Don's beautiful Longmeadow Garden in Herefordshire 

walled garden Denbigh patio by house

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

While Tom plays with the shapes and structure of hard landscaping, hedging and lawns, Jennifer takes a painterly approach with the smaller perennials and harmonious infill.

The house garden includes a terrace seating spot with a small box parterre and roses clambering up the walls, as well as two mainly oval lawns bisected with a path and beech hedges.

See: Cottage patio ideas - create a pretty spot for relaxing and entertaining

walled garden Denbigh door through to garden

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

The garden spreads across just over three acres, with the area by the house, a walled garden and then woodland. The division in areas was dictated by the site and the boundaries, especially the existing walls, which date back to around 1770.

walled garden denbigh borders with roses

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

In the house garden, an attractive Victorian style gazebo draws the eye along the informal herbaceous border that is billowing with fragrant lavender, Hesperis matronalis var. albiflora, Iris sibirica and Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula, while the pink of Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ stands out among a sea of white.

Lending a sense of whimsy are self-seeded spires of digitalis, happily popping up in the borders and ‘providing much needed verticals as visual punctuation,’ says Jenny. 

See: Monty Don's foxglove growing tips

walled garden Denbigh herbaceous borders

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

‘I’ve used a colour scheme in the house garden of white, blue and green for a calming atmosphere,’ Jenny explains. Flower choices include Rosa ‘Winchester Cathedral’, aquilegia and Spirea ‘Snowmound’, which work well with silver foliaged stachys.

See: Sensory garden ideas - create an outdoor space filled with sounds, scents and textures

walled garden Debigh curved herbaceous border

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

Outside the walled garden, a touch of romance is provided by three rose beds. Each has a central obelisk, one adorned with Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’  surrounded by R. ‘Darcey Bussell’, while the other two beds feature ‘Wollerton Old Hall’ and ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’. In May these are accompanied by spheres of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. 


This feature was created by H&G's sister brand, Period Living magazine

Subscribe to Period Living for more inspiration
Period Living is the UK's best-selling period homes magazine. A subscription provides you with all you need to know about caring for and improving a traditional house and garden.

walled garden Denbigh gate in wall

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

Potted lavenders frame the doorway to the protected walled garden, through which the view is down the west wall, with a long border planted in an effervescent cottage style. 

Small trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs mingle together harmoniously, including gleditsia, Sorbus cashmiriana, nepeta, geraniums, irises and salvias. 

walled garden Denbigh cottage garden planting

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

'Maggie's Border' is bonny in blue among the cottage garden planting on the west side of the walled garden.

‘We call this west border Maggie’s border, after a local lady who offered us her blue border in its prime. Over the space of a weekend, we took out all the flowers and transplanted them to ours, and so Maggie’s border was born. We always love walking in to the walled garden and seeing that directly in front of us,’ explains Jenny. 

walled garden Denbigh blue and white border with stone pillars

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

Tom and Jennifer are slowly working their way around the walled garden, adding borders and features. Formal yew and hornbeam hedges now divide the one-acre space, giving a sense of intimacy, while paths criss-cross it. 

walled garden Denbigh pair of stone pillars in border

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

Some stone pillars that were once part of the neighboring country manor house have been installed, and add an elegant statement, standing out against the drifts of blue irises.

walled garden Denbigh border by potting shed

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

The border by the potting shed in the walled garden is densely planted with a palette that includes clumps of golden Carex elata ‘Aurea’ and richly toned Aquilegia vulgaris stellata ‘Ruby Port’, a gift from Tom’s mother.

Walled garden denbigh roses

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

With much of the area still under development, there are plans yet to be fully envisioned, from nursery beds and a greenhouse, to further herbaceous borders, specimen trees, an orchard, and a wildflower area. 

walled garden Denbigh iris pallida

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

One of the latest projects is a cutting garden along the south wall. Here the choices for the vase include alliums, Euphorbia oblongata, gladioli, echinops, eryngium, irises and lilies, along with dahlias later in the season.

See: How to grow dahlias – a step by step guide to growing dahlias from tubers

walled garden in denbigh gazebo

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright)

‘New plans and projects present themselves all the time,’ Jenny concludes.

Rachel Crow

Rachel is senior content editor, and writes and commissions gardening content for, Homes & Gardens magazine, and its sister titles Period Living Magazine and Country Homes & Interiors. She has written for lifestyle magazines for many years, with a particular focus on gardening, historic houses and arts and crafts, but started out her journalism career in BBC radio, where she enjoyed reporting on and writing programme scripts for all manner of stories. Rachel then moved into regional lifestyle magazines, where the topics she wrote about, and people she interviewed, were as varied and eclectic as they were on radio. Always harboring a passion for homes and gardens, she jumped at the opportunity to work on The English Home and The English Garden magazines for a number of years, before joining the Period Living team, then the wider Homes & Gardens team, specializing in gardens.