Friday, 11 March 2016

A small suburban back garden in Manchester, by David Keegan Garden Design

A small contemporary garden design project in Suburban Manchester

Who says suburbia has to be boring? 

Who says a small space has to be a boring? 

The garden as first viewed

Who says a garden has to have a lawn?

These are the questions I asked myself when I first went to visit the owners of this garden, and in turn it was the same set of questions i posed to them.

Your kids are grown up, or you don’t have kids, so what’s the lawn for?

A few facts about lawns in small spaces, they are one dimensional, high maintenance, costly, and rarely ever satisfying unless you are prepared to devote a large amount of time, energy and money into maintaining them. And, as I said, in a small space that’s just not a good idea! Fortunately my clients on this project agreed.  

But first there were a number of issues that needed to be tackled. The drop from the living room to garden wasn’t inviting, or user friendly, the rear part of the garden had a tendency to become waterlogged when it rained and 2 very large inspection chamber lids dominated another part of the garden, and finally in a small space where to store things without the storage ruining the aesthetic of the finished gardens. All addressed by my new designs for the garden. 

A Few More Pictures of The Garden As First Viewed

 As mentioned in the text, the garden had  2 very large inspection chambers. Not an attractive sight but difficult to move too.

Not much to look at here and not a very inviting space to sit out in whatever the weather.

The water-logging as mentioned 

The finished garden. 

This is now a clean, contemporary, low maintenance,  and user friendly space. A deck now leads off the back of the house creating a valuable addition to the usable living garden space near the house. Limestone paving to the perimeter keeps things light and airy, even on the darkest of Manchester days, whilst the black granite frames the path for contrast. Inset spot lights help to create warmth and depth in the evenings


The side entrance is now separated from the rest of the garden with an in keeping bespoke gate and slatted fence, paved in hard wearing grey granite. This space now provides the perfect out of sight storage area for pots and hose and tools without ruing the overall look of the garden beyond. 

The raised bed to the perimeter of the garden not only raised the level of planting allowing greater screening and privacy, but also effectively creates a large seating area along the copings to the top of the rendered wall. A great space for a party or for entertaining friends. A floating seat to the corner creates a formalised seating area looking back towards the house. A great place to relax and read a book or the papers perhaps over a glass of wine. 

The Photinia trees to the back raised bed will over time fill out creating a pleached hedge which will afford greater privacy and some nice background colour to the garden from the house. Planting at this size is a cost effective way of creating a pleached hedger without breaking the bank.

The dry river bed cobble garden to the center of the picture is planted with a variety of dwarf conifers which will over time spread out to create soft mounds but without overwhelming and taking over the space. They also provided the perfect way to create year round colour and contrast in a small space.

For this part of the garden close to the house i  designed a simple water feature using decorative Welsh slate blocks set into a gabion basket and a galvanised climbing frame. The letterbox water feature now lends the soothing and relaxing sound of water to the finished garden as well as providing a low maintenance focal point feature.  An existing honeysuckle way retained to add a bit of  softness to all the straight lines. Although it does not look like much now it is sure to add a nice bust of green to this part of the garden this coming summer.

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 © 2015
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 © 2016

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