• Taylor Tripp

Design | Romantic Country Garden

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Our clients on this project in Oxfordshire were passionate about their garden and keen to be involved in a collaborative design process. It was a joy to work with them to create this soft romantic country garden to complement their home and take advantage of the beautiful views out into the surrounding countryside. The garden was completed in 2017 and we had the pleasure of visiting this summer to see how it has developed since.

Full borders of mixed perennials.

We remodelled the drive and approach to the house to increase privacy from the road and neighbouring properties. We used native wildflowers to create a more relaxed entrance that blended with the rural country lane.

Approach to the house - new drive gates softened by wildflower planting and native hedges on either side.

The design included better provision for parking, encouraging cars to park away from the front facade of the house, leaving the front door defined as you approach. The link to the countryside remained an important aspect of this project, allowing glimpses through to the landscape beyond the garden, encouraging further exploration.

Shade tolerant planting on the north side of the house.

A textural combination of planting surrounds the house on three sides, with a mix of colours, foliage and forms, providing a soft romantic tapestry of interest, leading the eye beyond the garden to the wonderful rural views.

A romantic planting of grasses and perennials.

The main terrace already benefited from a substantial pergola on which the clients have grown wisteria, the ultimate aim to provide a shady seating area on the south side of the house. We surrounded the terrace with Mediterranean style planting, including lavender and herbs, within easy access of the kitchen for culinary use.

Main terrace with pergola and seating area.

Our clients were keen not to have an overly formal garden and wanted to relate the planting to the countryside surrounding the property. This was achieved through a combination of soft ornamental grasses and mixed perennial planting in blues, pinks, purples and whites.

View from pergola across the garden. Image kindly provided by our clients.

Lovely rustic planters chosen and planted by our clients to add interest and character to the garden.

From the main terrace you step out onto an organically shaped lawn designed to blend seamlessly into the countryside beyond, as our clients were keen to blur the boundaries between the garden and landscape.

View across the main terrace and planting to the lawn.

Evergreen topiary for winter structure mixed with low-level planting to maintain views from the house.

To allow easy access on wet winter days, you can walk along a gravel path hidden amongst the generous borders, to reach a circular seating area and firepit nestled into the planting. Like many areas of the garden, the firepit area benefits from lovely views, a great place to sit in the evening and prolong time spent in the garden. Topiary balls were scattered through the soft planting, so that when the perennials die down in winter, an evergreen structure emerges out of the border to provide a different dimension of interest.

Firepit seating area surrounded by planting and paths that lead out to the different areas of the garden. Image kindly provided by our clients.

A pathway leads from the firepit to a children’s play area, with a stilted tree house, trampoline and climbing frame. This was partially screened from view with new mature tree and shrub planting, making it a fun and adventurous area for the children, while ensuring the play structure didn’t dominate views from the house and garden.

Play area screened from view. Photograph taken a few months after the garden was completed.

A mass of Hydrangeas add autumn interest.

A productive garden with raised vegetable beds and a lovely Alitex greenhouse has become a much-used area of the garden. Our clients have made good use of the productive garden, growing much of their own produce and cut flowers.

View across planting to the productive garden beyond.

Alitex Glasshouse.

A large triangular shaped paddock stretches out away from the house. Here we planted orchard trees, keeping a naturalistic look to the area, and a wildflower meadow to encourage more wildlife into the garden. Mown paths create a sense of journey through the field to take advantage of the beautiful views, encouraging use of the paddock, making it feel appealing to wander through.

Additionally, new ‘Parkland’ trees were planted to frame views and add more depth to what had previously been a flat, open expanse of grass. New native hedges were planted along boundary fences to enhance the English landscape aesthetic.

View from a tree seat back across the paddock and meadow to the house and garden.

We also accommodated a new tennis court into the design, which was sunken below surrounding levels, making it easier to screen from the house with the additional use of shrub planting.

It was delightful to see the garden now that it has established and settled down into the surrounding landscape. Possibly the most gratifying part of our job is to see how much our clients use and enjoy their gardens long after we have left and the work is done. It was lovely to see how engaged with the garden these clients are and we look forward to visiting again in the future to see how it develops over time.

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