This Victorian schoolhouse from the 1870s is full of character. But before Joyce stepped in, its garden was dominated by a lot of grass and old, unattractive shrubs. It was not somewhere the owners wanted to spend any time. Following Joyce’s transformation, it’s a space they use every day.
This beautiful home was once the village school and its garden rises above the height of the road making it private. It’s contained by the walls that once bordered the old school playground.
Owner Katherine Record explained: “Before we asked Joyce to help us, there was a lot of grass and bizarrely half a path that didn’t go anywhere. There was an old giant shrub, which dominated everything. It just wasn’t a garden we ever really used.
“Joyce really listened to what we wanted and understood us. She had the vision for how to create a space we’d love all-year round. We could never have achieved what she did.”
Speaking six years after the work was completed, Katherine added: “Her work has transformed the way we use our garden. We just love it and we use it every day; all the time.”
“The garden is a real godsend. It’s lovely to sit out in, to eat outside, to just potter around.”
One striking feature is the beautiful workmanship of woven fencing created in situ by Eddie Glew, Blithfield Willowcraft. This hides the view of vehicles parked outside the house from anyone in the garden and adds interest to vegetable and herb beds.
The changes to the front garden made a big impact because so much space was reclaimed. The original blue engineering brick path to the door was retained and enhanced with cottage garden-style planting.
The rear garden was wide but shallow and had awkward levels which meant nowhere was suitable to lay a patio. The levels were dealt with and Joyce’s design incorporated new lawn, patio and gravel areas. Flower beds accommodated any shrubs that deserved to be retained and allowed for new, interesting planting. A large espaliered Liquidambar (Sweet Gum Tree) was planted to add a focal point.
Katherine said: “Joyce took us with her to a local nursery to look at plants and she explained how they would mature. The result has been a garden that is very easy for us to maintain. We work full-time and have busy lives so that was important to us.
“The planting was all arranged in sequence so that all-year-round there is always something interesting to look at. By using reclaimed bricks, the meandering path that Joyce’s team created looks as if it’s been here forever. There was a lot of landscaping to do and the project took about a month.” Katherine added: “Working with Joyce and her team was very easy and a great experience.”