An English Country Garden

Down in Dorset we are making progress on the bones of our garden. At the back of the new house the farmyard will remain – informal, no doubt muddy and messy, the domain of chickens, Runner ducks, Brecon Geese and any other orphaned creatures which Jane is compelled to adopt (She just can’t help herself . As a friend says, ‘Jane’s a sucker for anything fluffy with a beating heart’).

At the rear, or ‘Garden Front’, we are forming a traditional English Country Garden. Partly sunken due to the topography, the centre will be dominated by a large rectangle of lawn framed by York stone paths.  Herbaceous borders will dominated three sides, the forth being replaced by a wide ‘Rill’ – effectively a ‘water border’, itself planted up with aquatic species and hopefully home to all manner of amphibious creatures and a few fish.  Dry stone retaining walls and yew hedging will form a perimeter around the whole lot and the vestigial spaces beyond this formal geometry will be occupied by an Orchard and a Vegetable Garden.

All in all its a rather ambitious scheme, but it will certainly sit well in its context and hopefully provide many happy years of pleasure.  Our ‘back to front’ approach – doing the landscaping before the building work – does have a contorted logic. Firstly the garden needs a few seasons to establish before it can be enjoyed; and secondly the budget usually dries up finishing the house long before the garden is even considered!  This way the garden will be quietly maturing whilst we argue with Planners and scrape around for finance ……….. and at least Gabriel will have a space to develop his football. Or croquet.

Some ‘back-of-an-envelope’ sketch ideas:

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