An Olympian’s Oasis

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This was a bungalow-style property in Brentwood, Essex that was undergoing a complete transformation and effectively being rebuilt.

Brief

The plot is unusually shaped with a short drive area leading to a garage at the front, two small areas to the sides and a broadly triangular garden to the rear. As the gardens surround the house on all sides, the sun reaches different areas at different times of the day.

The new interiors were finished to a high standard and in a contemporary style and our client wanted the new gardens to reflect this.

She also has a very busy lifestyle so the new scheme had to be low-maintenance.

The front garden was to have a dramatic feature of some sort in the middle of the lawn to the left of the drive to provide the ‘wow’ factor on arrival at the property.

The area to the east side was to be an entertaining area with the feel of a contemporary courtyard and able to accommodate a table, chairs and barbecue. The area also needed to be made secure to ensure our client’s dog could not escape!

The area to the west side of the house was to be a place to relax. However, although the feel was to be softer here, our client wanted to continue the contemporary theme through the planting and materials used.

The rear garden is overlooked from the main living room and also the master bedroom, so not only would it be viewed in the summer months, it was very important to have interest throughout the winter too.

Solution

The entire garden was stripped right back and none of the original plants were kept save one or two mature trees on the boundaries. The fences were replaced and horizontal trellis was placed along the top to keep the overall contemporary feel of each of the garden areas.

The front garden was laid to lawn with some good-looking planting under the windows. We added a dramatic water feature of two sandstone spheres in the middle of the lawn, which can be lit at night, to provide the ‘wow’ factor on arrival at the property. Box hedging was planted in front of the house to deter footfall onto the lawn, and the hedge increased in height where it reaches the side garden so as to provide privacy and screening.

On the fenced boundary alongside the garage we attached trellis to the top to provide extra privacy and a narrow planting bed was built along its length to accommodate some climbing plants to soften the look of the fence.

In the area to the east of the house we built a reflective, tranquil pool with a bespoke metal structure at the back. The sociability of the space was enhanced by adding a fire pit which has the ability to be adapted as a barbecue. The area was made secure with a gate between it and the drive and was made to match the metal structure behind the pool. We also added a matching screen to hide the front of the client’s dog run.

In the area to the west side of the house we placed a lawn surrounded by beautiful, scented planting, a large, naturalistic water feature of slate standing stones, and a small patio where our client could sit to enjoy it! The fence to one side of this area (and along one side of the rear garden) was replaced and trellis placed along the top to enhance privacy. A gate made of the same bespoke design as the east garden links this area to the back garden.

To the rear garden straight lines and angles, rather than curves give a contemporary edge to the design of the patios, paths and lawns. We placed a line of pleached trees to the northern boundary to emphasise and complement the straight lines of the paths and to also provide screening from the row of houses overlooking the garden. Accessories of obelisks and brushed steel pots planted with Box spheres were added to complement the design.

There is another bespoke water feature in this area, to the rear, towards the point of the triangle, in the form of a glass sphere on a brushed steel base. This provides a very effective focal point from the house. On a practical note, we included a small storage shed hidden by another bespoke metal screen behind the water feature.

There is a paved area outside the doors from the living area leading to another outside the bedroom and utility room. This is where the brushed steel pots were placed to soften the house walls.

The planting scheme overall is low-maintenance and contemporary in feel. However, there is also be plenty of colour and scent, providing year-round interest with both flowers and foliage. Plants include Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Lavender and we also incorporated some espalier fruit trees.

Although very small children don’t use the garden, all planting is non-toxic for our client’s dog.

Lighting was added to give an exciting dimension to the garden, making it not only useable on summer evenings, but also visually exciting in the winter months.

Finally, we installed an automatic irrigation system.

Take a look at this Essex Garden Design below!

What they had to say

Dear Paul & Helen

I would like to thank you all for a wonderful landscape work to my bungalow. It’s settled down and starting to mature into a garden that offers something to everyone. – A very real pleasure!! Thank you!!!

Helen – it has surpassed my expectations – fantastic!!!

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