Around this time last month we got the wonderful news that we have won a second BALI National Landscape Award, this time in the category Domestic Garden Construction under £30k. We first won a BALI award in 2011 for this Tunbridge Wells garden.
This year it was for the design and landscaping of the garden of a 400 year old semi-detached cottage in Wadhurst, East Sussex, which had proven to be rather a conundrum for the clients who wanted to maximise their living space.
The clients’ brief was to open up the side of their small, north facing garden to light and make the best of the parts that get the sun. It was important for the clients to have a bespoke seating area that would genuinely become an extension of the house, surrounded by planting that would give the desired relaxing Mediterranean feel throughout.
Considerable access difficulties were overcome allowing the removal of the existing paving, walls and raised beds of soil opening up the side of the site. Being sympathetic to the age of the grade 2 listed cottage in a conservation area, it was extremely important to Ali to use the recycled paving and existing sandstone in a way that tied together the old and new when creating the bespoke seating area. Each of the old and new paving slabs (new slabs from Strata Stones supplied by Corker) were individually cut to achieve random thicknesses and stacked in a way that resembles dry stone walling, although they were all cemented in place. To ensure continuity the existing walls were rendered and then painted using a colour to match the stone walling. It was a real labour of love that produced a most practical and usable space for dining and entertaining.
The paved area, supplied by Marshalls, laid at the top of the garden gets the last of the sun and has provided the clients with a perfect barbecue area.
The courtyard garden was enhanced with lighting in the walls and paving and up-lighting of the feature plants and within the borders. This links to a remote control lighting system which means that individual areas can be subtly lit to create different moods within the garden. The lighting was supplied by Lighting For Gardens.
Feature plants were carefully chosen to provide structure. The planting is anchored by a large specimen old gnarly Olive tree and clipped Box hedging and backed by an espalier screen of Hornbeam trees. The fence is screened with wire trained Star Jasmine. Perennial planting and grasses create changing colour and heights to the garden throughout the summer months. All plants and trees were supplied by Provender Nurseries. The client is a keen plantswoman who now enjoys developing and changing the perennial planting scheme to keep it fresh and exciting.
Ali’s careful consultation, interpretation of the clients’ wishes and subsequent engagement with the client throughout the design and build process allowed the creation of a haven that can be used all year round and at all times of day.
After completion our client commented, “I looked for 3 years trying to find someone who would help me realise my dreams for our garden – the ideas were in my head (and on Pinterest) but needed Ali’s experience and creativity to bring them to reality. Ali and his expert team worked tirelessly to create a beautiful garden space that included bespoke recycled stone walling, relaxing seating and wooden screen, barbecue area and wonderful lighting for nighttime impact. We were proud to open the garden as part of the Wadhurst Open Gardens scheme last summer.”
Huge thanks to all our fantastic suppliers. We can’t wait to get our glad rags on for the awards ceremony in London. Roll on December!