Case Studies / A Contemporary Family Home Garden

  • An uninviting approach to the property.


  • Tired planting below the expansive house front.


  • A labour intensive, deep mixed border.


  • A south facing sloping lawn heavily shaded by overgrown shrubbery and conifers.


  • A long border, going no-where.


  • Bleak raised beds overpower the terrace.


  • Layers of bold planting soften the house exterior.

    Finished garden

  • Borders are split by pathways, giving the effect of width without the  extra workload.

    Finished garden

    Late summer, Eucomis bicolor [Pineapple flower] preparing to flower, surrounded by Agapanthus, Crocosmia, Miscanthus and the torch like flower spikes of Kniphofia 'Alkazar'

    Finished garden

  • Buxus sempervirens balls [box] and limestone spheres repeat, inter-planted with Stipa tenuissima [feather grass] and ultimately white Agapanthus.

    Finished garden (newly planted)

  • View from the South, the sloping wide wall borders are disected by a slab and sett path, flanked by repeat block planting of long season of interest perennials and choice shrubs.

    Finished garden

  • Late summer colour including Agapanthus 'Arctic Star' amid  Aster lateriflorus 'Lady in Black'.

    Finished garden

About the property:

Rutland village garden. A newly built contemporary house, with a sloping garden to the south. Existing boundary planting of huge conifers and tired mixed borders.

The large house sports a large terrace with a tall brick retaining wall and a wide sloping lawn. From the house, the eye was drawn to the many large dark conifers.

The effect was a house trying to peer over the boundary growth, with limited interest within the garden. It did however sport some nice mature trees and a wonderful high mellow brick boundary wall.

Client brief:

Design a colourful garden, with a long season of interest. Views from both from the house and terrace, and from the main entrance path should be taken into account. The garden should remain mostly lawn and simple to tend by its knowledgeable horticultural owner.


The mixed border against the high wall was increased in depth so as to allow more space for a succession of planting throughout the season.

To avoid creating one massive border, a non slip path was added, unseen from the house and the entrance, but visible – creating a new axis – from the rear lawn.

Block planting of prairie style planting give the garden an element of change throughout the seasons.

A raised bed is built against the retaining terrace wall and planted with sculptural box cubes, climbing roses and grasses to link planting to the strong proportions of the house .

Large stone balls are added to the raised terrace planters to give permanent structure and link to the same sized box balls within the lower planting.