Friday, 28 March 2014

A contemporary garden design project in Cheshire, By David Keegan Garden Design

Written Brief  and pictures– The Old Orchard Gardens Cheshire

Hardiness Zone
The plot is located in UK hardiness zone 8
Site conditions
The existing garden included a number of features, which my clients wished to keep, and other
features which they wanted removed to make way for the new garden. One of the first features we
discussed removing was the gloomy row of established Leylandii at the front boundary, replacing this
with a new glossy green Prunus Lusitanica hedge. The clients wished to retain a pear and a Victoria
plum tree, as these were the only survivors from the original orchards.
Boundary lime trees by the front drive way and magnificent oak were subject to TPO, so these were
also retained. Raised beds to the rear and left of the boundary became part of the new garden
design, as these were the remains of the boundary wall of the old orchard. Dry stonewalling to the
side raised bed required rebuilding.
Client’s needs
My clients had lived in the property for over ten years and had made substantial changes to the
house. The garden had been used by their young sons as a football pitch and had changed little over
the years. Once the children had grown up my clients were faced with a choice of either moving or
having the garden redesigned to suit their own needs. My clients wanted an adventurous, grown up
garden; which included a generous area for dining and relaxing.
Design intent
To create a dynamic and grown up space that could be used for entertaining but also created a sense
of connectedness to all parts of the house as a unified whole. Plant groups and themes were chosen
and placed to create picture frames to the internal aspect of windows and doors.
Project description
As you come down the entrance drive, your eye is drawn through the grid planting of silver birch with
clipped formal box hedge planted to the base of each tree. Gabions further enhance the sculptural
quality of the area and further draw the eye to the bespoke design oak pergola to the end.
Columnar Yew trees with a base dressing of Scottish cobble and copper discs (which will weather to
verdigris) give the front area a formal look. Copper is also used as an inset detail in the boardwalks,
and in the tubular cross lats of the pergola, which I designed for the rear garden. White cobbles used
under the canopy of lime lighten and lift the area with a sculptural detail provided by the box balls.
A boardwalk lined with cooling ferns leads from the dining room through a feathery light canopy of
tamarix, to the sun/dining terrace at the end of the walk. We chose pale diamond sawn York stone for
all paved areas, to brighten the space on dull days and counteract the shading effect of the
overhanging trees. In response to the client’s request for a low maintenance water feature, I designed
a black pebble rill, which connects the two sides of the garden, and draws your eye down the pathway
though the perimeter planting. Black also is a strong visual contrast to the pale paving and silver
Ultimately this is a space, which will retain interest over many years as it matures and establishes

Environmental responsibility
Majority of plant stock sourced from local nurseries. Water butts installed to house drain down pipes.
Upper terrace beds top dressed with strulch (a straw like natural mulching material) Landscaping
carried out by local company. Existing stone used to rebuild stone retaining wall. All timber from
certified managed stock.

Designer’s role
To liase with my clients in the preparation of designs for new gardens.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the pictures and please feel free to comment or ask questions.
All pictures are the copyrighted property of David Keegan © 2014
Do not copy, publish, or use in any way, without the prior consent of the owner, David Keegan.

Picture size and quality is reduced for these postings in order to protect the integrity of the expressed and legal copyright © 2014

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