This classic country garden has many different aspects – from expansive lawns and a traditional arbour walkway to modern planting. With some areas taking on a more traditional style with lavender bedding and wooden structures, the levelled patio area is a stark contrast. With its clean lines, architectural level structure and modern finishing – it provides an outlook of greenery from every facing window in the house. Another key feature of the landscape is the meadow land just beyond the stile, brimming with wild flowers and plants.
The reconfigured driveway sweeping to the front of the house is bordered with sculptural lawns, buxus balls and majestic Copper Beech, Ash and Maple trees to give the approach a parkland feel.
Drifts of perennials and grasses provide a naturalistic look as the garden blends with the wildflower meadow beyond. The palette of ornamental grasses includes Calamgrostis, Panicum, Molinia and Seslaria.
The meadow land just beyond the stile is brimming with wild flowers and plants. Which are easy to maintain and are also a magnet for wildlife.
Why go wild?
John Wyer of Bowles & Wyer tells us ‘Wildflower meadows are increasingly popular as people become more aware of sustainability and environmental issues. They can be a fantastic addition to a large country garden or estate not least because of their beauty, but also because they are great for insects and birdlife. However, they are an element that needs to be treated with caution. Natural wildflower meadows are difficult to recreate and need a very nutrient poor soil to be successful. They also need to have any competitive grasses (from existing lawn, pasture or paddock) completely removed. If this is not done, these grasses (particularly rye) will out-compete most wildflowers within a season or two. One practical solution is to remove the topsoil and use it elsewhere on the site, which is what we did here. That allowed us to work with a sandy nutrient-poor subsoil that was perfect. There are different types of seed mixes available. Here we went for a mix that was more geared towards the decorative end of the spectrum, with a lot of colour. There are also mixes with a blend of more traditional wild meadow flowers. If it is not possible to achieve a suitable soil, try killing off existing grasses and then sowing a mix with less competitive grasses and the more persistent wildflowers (such as Ox-eye daisies). Moles Seeds produce a mix like this.’
A gabion ha-ha separates the main garden and the wildflower meadow from the agricultural field. Two curved arms of the main path are flanked on either side by Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree).
A traditional oak arbour walkway joins the sunken fire pit and annex with the main curved path adding an architectural feel to garden.
Topiary and hedging adds a note of formality to the front garden and shields the swimming pool garden and children’s play area beyond.
Modern planting enhances the contemporary terrace. Planting palette includes: Pittosporum ‘Golf Ball’ (in the foreground) with Daphne ‘Sweet Amethyst’ and Luzula nivea (in the middle ground).
A stylish sunken garden with tiers of clipped topiary and multi-stem trees leads down to a contemporary patio area directly outside the house and opening off the indoor pool and entertainment area on the lower ground floor.
How to choose the perfect place for your firepit
A sunken fire pit close to the house is surrounded by traditional lavender bedding in front of a crinkle-crankle wall and a wooden arbour.
John Wyer tells us about choosig the perfect setting, ‘Firepits are ideal in the late summer and early autumn when cooler evenings start to creep in. They allow sitting out in the garden well past the time that evening chill would normally drive you inside. The setting is about both style and practicality. A sunken area for a firepit somehow looks more snug. At the same time, it will allow people to sit around the flames in a sheltered position whilst allowing any smoke to rise up and be blown away over their heads.’
Photography: Alexander James