After carrying out improvements to their home of 26 years, the owners wanted to bring their garden up to the same standard and make the most of it. Serious slopes from side to side and back to front meant they needed a professional designer to bring their ideas to life. The amount of garden maintenance also needed to be reduced.
Mary Grice is a keen gardener and even enjoys weeding, but the demands of her old garden were too much. After carrying out a lot of improvements to their home, she and her husband wanted a more interesting garden that made the most of their outdoor space.
“It wasn’t a bad garden; it was OK,” said Mary Grice. “But it was dated with typical sandstone patio slabs, a big, old apple tree that had spread out but never had any fruit and big borders that were really difficult to manage. Some of the borders were a weekends’ work at a time each, just to keep the weeds down, several times a year.
“Nothing seemed to be in quite the right place. We often ended up dragging the table off the patio on to the grass to be in the sunshine.”
There is now a very sleek, chic look to a new patio that runs across the entire back of the house: “I knew from the start that I wanted big, pale, smooth slabs,” said Mary. The pale grey, porcelain patio gives me just what I wanted and it has a real ‘Wow!’ factor.”
The new patio is square and formal and new edging in that area is also square. Where the changing levels of the garden were previously marked by untidy, random rocks, there are now attractive square sleepers that retain the changing levels in a more orderly way.
Mary loves that the garden has also become a great space for entertaining, with distinct areas for dining and relaxing.
The house side of the garden is very low maintenance. Mary said: “It always looks lovely so I don’t have to spend the whole weekend gardening anymore.”
Attractive Jackson venetian panelling provides screening from a neighbouring village pub. Mary added: “There is a raised bed in front of that and some pom pom bay trees and a few topiary buxus and evergreens so that’s completely static. I don’t have to add anything or take anything away. That will always look lovely all through the year.
“There’s minimal planting with a clean modern look. It’s like an extension of the indoor space because it’s always clean and tidy.”
This is a garden in the middle of the countryside and that is reflected by a gradual change as you walk further down the garden. “It becomes more rustic with more informal, flowing lines,” said Mary. “We haven’t lost the hedgerows and that natural look that complements the fields we back on to and the open countryside. But there’s not a stark contrast, it blends naturally from the modern section beside the house to the older, established section through careful choices of colours and shapes.”
At the start of the project, Mary shared a couple of pictures from Pinterest with Joyce to give an idea of the look and feel she wanted: “I gave her a bullet-point list of things I wanted to retain and things I wanted to be completely eliminated. I’m absolutely over the moon with the end result.”
Mary went with Joyce’s suggested work team and said they were great: “Obviously, when a project gets underway, however well you’ve planned it and however good the drawings are, there are going to be things you want to rethink and change and they were very accommodating.”
Mary explained: “I have a workroom at the other end of the garden, so I walk across the garden several times a day to get to it and I can’t tell you how much joy I’m getting from just how lovely it looks and how little work I have to put into it now.”
The garden goes round a corner into a meadow and vegetable growing area. Now that the formal garden takes so little time, Mary can spend more time working on that section.
Mary added: “Although it involved a considerable financial outlay, the pleasure it has already given me, along with the many years of enjoyment to come, make it a sound investment.
“I’m going to enjoy every day of it now.”