Country Cottage

Long, Narrow Country Garden

Built when Cavaliers and Roundheads were rampaging the countryside, this pretty, thatched cottage with its long stretch of garden, could tell many a fascinating tale!

Analysis and Problems

Partially, over-looked by the neighbouring property, the garden is narrow, over 30 metres long and very typical of its time, but with high laurel hedges taking precious space and blocking the views. The narrowness is emphasised because one can immediately see right to the end of the garden – there’s no mystery or hidden corners, nothing to spark the curiosity.

The existing borders contain some nice plants , but are random shapes, dotted around the lawn,  making it difficult to mow and giving a cluttered look.  Although it’s shady close to the cottage, it becomes  progressively sunnier towards the far end, with views that could be revealed, but there are no paved areas in the sunny spots, to place a table and chairs.  Lovely, mature laburnum.

Solutions

The laurel hedges were removed, opening up space and far reaching views of the surrounding hills and valleys.  We simplified the planting, by removing  the dotted island borders and re-shaped the straight borders running down the sides of the garden, giving them curves and swirls and filling them with gorgeous country flowers.  Now they beckon to you and say, ‘step this way and see what’s around the corner!’

The length of the garden was divided by a sturdy, timber arch and trellis, planted with roses, clematis, honeysuckle and star jasmine – suddenly there is a curiosity and a reason to walk through the arch to see what lies on the other side. Three, white-barked birch trees planted close together screen the property next door, with ferns, violets, wood anemones and hellebores planted underneath.

Unexpectedly, a small, adjacent piece of garden became available and was snapped up by the owners.  In the newly aquired space we built a wild-life pond and linked it with planting to an old apple tree, which although gnarled and not producing the best apples, has spectacular blossom in the spring.  Bees and butterflies can’t resist the flowery banquet and make it a delightful place to spend a summer’s day.

Now, a walk in the garden is a gentle meander through luscius planting, with unexpected seats and jardin trouvee, brought back from France by the owners and re-homed in Dorset..