Designer Amy Perkins took on the challenge of working on a garden during house renovations
My clients were undergoing extensive renovations of an old farmhouse in Hampshire, and wanted to work on the garden at the same time to ensure that the house fitted into the landscape.
The 3.7-acre garden had been divided into three walled spaces, so I created a different feel for each garden room: a soft, romantic cottage garden; a striking tiered and sculpted front lawn to the front of the house with a formal courtyard linking the main house to the converted outbuilding and garages; and informal and inviting meadows incorporating a wildlife pond, wildflower areas, large sweeping grass borders and a fruit-tree avenue.
The client was introducing a modern feel to the interior of the converted stables, which I reflected in the design of the Pool Garden, which featured clipped blocks of box and yew, and large multi-stem Amelanchiers to create a modern feel. A run of Prunus ‘Sunset Boulevard’ planted along the back wall adds height and structure to the space, with blossom in the spring and fabulous autumn colour.
Traditional reclaimed Yorkstone paving and setts, combined with local Michelmersh bricks, were used throughout to complement the restoration and ensure the house sat comfortably in its surroundings; the one exception was the Pool Garden, which features limestone paving.
Planting throughout was predominantly perennial borders in shades of purples, whites, pale pinks and greens, punctuated with shrubs and grasses, plus many climbers and pockets of roses to soften the large number of existing walls within the garden. I also incorporated many fruit trees to form an orchard, groups of Betula nigra and a Liquidambar styraciflua as a focal point in the meadow. I blended the formal gardens into the wider landscape by introducing informal wildflower meadows, large swathes of grasses and carefully placed benches to sit and make the most of the views to the garden and countryside beyond.
The landscaping works were implemented by Hillier Landscapes and ran alongside the house renovations. Co-ordinating removal of scaffolding and access to areas was a particular challenge, but one that was overcome through good communication with the client. Since the major landscaping works ended, I have continued to implement other phases of the design, such as the meadows and large grass borders, and rejuvenated the existing large kitchen garden, including incorporating some more permanent planting for use as flower-cutting beds.
It was very rewarding to be able to work on a project with a client over a number of years to achieve a sympathetic and beautiful overall scheme for the house and garden.