But what to do?

Year of completion
Chilterns, Buckinghamshire
Landscape Contractor
Hatton Garden Landscapes
Chilterns, Buckinghamshire
Chilterns, Buckinghamshire

The clients had been working through the process of remodeling and extending a lovely old farmhouse and barns, which had included some landscaping work to the affected areas around the house. However there was a forgotten side of the farmhouse, an inherited and overgrown cottage garden, that had its moments but by and large was a headache to maintain owing to well established colonies of bindweed and other aggressive species.

My initial brief was to consider repurposing the space, or replace and start again, within a sensible budget. But what to do with this underused part of the garden? It was used more as a space to pass through, but had a charm, and provided a quiet space to retreat when the kids and dogs were running riot.​​​​​​​

On further inspection, amongst the undergrowth there was some lovely old brickwork and rustic Yorkstone paving stepping up the garden with islands of thick matted planting moved through the space, and an old dried up formal pond and a second raised pond.

The hard landscaping seemed too interesting to remove and felt part of the old house, so restoration of this would provide the template for a new approach. To meet the lower maintenance requirements for a relatively large area we needed a new planting strategy.

Naturalistic planting

The problem was a very fertile and historically worked topsoil had provided the perfect conditions for aggressive competitive ‘weeds’ to take hold. I operate a zero-chemical policy so the herbaceous layer, root zone and topsoil was removed to leave a series of holes ready for new planting.

This provided an opportunity to tailor the planting substrate, using deep gravel to create more difficult conditions, growing plants harder and making the less needy – planting to manage rather than maintain. ​​​​​​​

The restored paving and brickwork came up a treat. By working with the existing structure the character has been retained but given a fresh energy with a new style of planting, low input and high impact.

Rather than being daunted by the work required to look after it, my client now thinks of it as an inviting space to relax with a coffee.

What to do with this underused part of the garden was the question, and the answer was very little. The result brought to a close a pretty major development of this new home for the client, and helped to retain the character and spirit of the place they fell in love with. All with relatively little cost to the purse and the environment.

Restored natural stone paving
Gravel planting
Gravel planting
Recently completed planting scheme
Landscape construction
Ground work