Monday, 22 August 2016

Eco Garden Design Project revisited Worsley, Salford, Lancashire, Manchester

The Art of Garden.

Garden viewed from inside dining table

The Brief

It’s a truly wonderful thing to revisit a garden that you have designed and created within its first year to find it brim-full of colour, texture and most of all wildlife. The fundamental design principles behind this project, and the design brief set by my client, was for a low maintenance space, not however within the rigid disciplines of a traditional context. But more outward looking and European in its aesthetic. It was also a requirement that the designs for the garden display a strong architectural context, as well provide a haven for insect life that could coexist in harmony with humans. That’s quite a lot to expect from what is after all little more than a postage stamp size garden. 

Bug wall, green walls sculpture panels and Cor-ten pots.

Western red cedar was used to form the sculptural background frames for the Cor-ten Steel pots

 The Concept

A big part of my vision in setting out to design this garden was to truly create a connection between the inside and outside spaces, but as a garden distinct from a living room, the aim of which, to create a sense of being immersed in the garden even when seated inside. In setting out to achieve this I deliberately set out not to follow the fashion of extending the inside out, but instead, a separate space of nature that, although had a connection to the inside, its flow is complimentary, rather than continuous. In so doing, whilst the 2 spaces coexist and connect, they offer a very distinct set of moods and consequentially, emotional responses. The end result when you are seated inside the house and looking upon the garden it acts as a calming backdrop and picture, as distinct to when you sit in the garden, you are immersed and escape the connection, and its confines, of what we call house, home and room. In this way the garden becomes a distinct, but complimentary, separate space.

Stone cushions designed and made by St├ęphanie Marin, Nice, France

 View from the back of the garden to seating area outside bi fold house doors

The Visit

On this my first summers visit to the garden in year one, I was delighted to find plants dripping with colour and insects busy collecting nectar. A plant of particular note here, as it’s the first time I have used it, is a new hybrid Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'  a lower growing and more compact variety than the standard Verbena bonariensis, which can tend to get overly large and scraggly in a small space. Combined with Salvia purpurascens and Echinacea 'White Swan', I also used another somewhat newbie Echinacea hybrid, 'Kim’s Knee High', again, another lower growing and more compact variety of Echinacea, and with an almost metallic sheen to the petals this one is a real star. Contrast that with the soft lime green foliage, pale pinkie white flowers of Origanum vulgare, mixed with creeping lemon thymes, it all combines to create cool lower colours and the perfect foil for the stronger colours of top layer planting. Centered to all this is planted the compact Lavendula munstead, completing this haven of colour and scent. The effect of this style of planting is to create layers of colour and contrast from the ground up to just over 60cm.  Just about the right height for this size space as it provides a good picture without overwhelming the senses of the viewer. 
Planting to the cobbled areas is more muted with silver grey and bronzes to provide a framework for the central zone and includes such gems as Eryngium 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost',contrasted with the bronze panicles of Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster' which picks up the tones of the Cor-ten pots, cobble and boulders. Whilst   the striking and verdantly erect panicles and flower stems of Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', now green with flowering stems of soft buff, will extend to the rest of the plant as the seasons move and change, continuing the evolving sense of drama and contrasts in the garden.

A bumble bee busy collecting from the rich nectar store.

Even dragon flies have turned up in the garden to feed on nectar rich plants

The humble white butterfly joins the hunt for nectar.

Log store viewed through the bronze   panicles of  Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster'

Small raised planters at the back of the cedar panel allow hidden space for growing some salad leaves.

Design notes

Garden pots supplied by The Pot Co More info on pots (trade only supply) click this link

Custom made Livingstone cushions designed and manufactured in Nice, France, by St├ęphanie Marin. More info on cushions click this link 

Furniture a bespoke order from the Skyline range made in Belgium. If you are interested in purchasing garden furniture from this range please contact DK Garden Design for prices.

Large boulders sourced from a derelict Japanese garden in Knutsford, the story of which you can find at this link. 

Intermediary feature stones a small quarry I found in North Wales the location of which is a trade secret. 

Base cobble is Scottish river cobble sourced from any number of suppliers found online. All other elements bespoke built by my landscape team.

Content subject to Copyright; David Keegan Garden Design 2016 

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