A new space in life

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

Since moving into their house 12 years ago, Sarah and Neil had done a lot to it – a new extension, an interior kit-out, and much else besides. So the ‘field’ was the last undeveloped area providing an opportunity for a new space for a new phase in life following the departure of their youngest child to university.

The house is a grade II listed barn conversion positioned in a field down a long track in the heart of the Chilterns. Whilst the extended views of chalk escarpments and beech woodland is calming and never tires, the transition from indoors-out was harsh, and the patio laid 6-years earlier was big but not very welcoming.

The home needed a garden, but one close up that doesn’t infringe on the landscape – bridging the gap between house and hill.

My plan was to bring the distant views up close by introducing ‘wild’ planting between the patio and field, a combination of herbaceous and grasses to mimic the view, and multistem trees to provide height structure in the foreground. Furthermore the planted areas would help zone and heighten a sense of intimacy in an otherwise exposed position.

Built in seating surrounds firepit

Rob Hatton and his accomplished team of landscapers removed masses of unforgiving claggy chalky clay, decompacting the subsoil beneath before adding a deep sterile gravel substrate that I specified to create free draining and stressful conditions for plants, to reduce vigour, increase resilience and encourage diversity by limiting competition – flipping long held horticultural guidance on the head. (link to blog) New large areas of planting are developing into manageable plant communities requiring only seasonal management so the owners can sit, relax and enjoy.

I insisted that the previously roughly curved cut slabs to the patio edge were lifted to leave full slabs staggering into the planting.

With the field rising behind the house we bridged the height difference with a two-tiered local flint-clad wall snaking around the building to create a raised planted area around a new quasi-sunken fire pit area, sheltered from the worst of the weather and capturing the last sun.

The barn now has a garden both embracing, and protecting it from the landscape in which it sits, offering Sarah and Neil a comfortable vantage point from which to enjoy this new phase of their lives together.

Colourful perennial planting
Brick and flint walling with flint filled gabion seat
Gravel planting wraps around patio

“Jamie has managed to create a garden that is in total keeping with our environment. We live in the middle of fields, hedgerows and amazing views and the design Jamie presented reflects our surroundings and has provided us with a garden that is both stunning in colour but still informal and a little bit wild! ( we have a horse filled paddock backing onto it) It’s easy to maintain (lots of gravel beds) whilst the stonework ( Gabion wall and flint walls) fits perfectly within the property (we live in a converted barn after all). Jamie definitely made us think outside the box and we couldn’t have achieved this garden, along with it’s endless bees and butterflies, without him.”

SARAh & Neil
Perennial planting in Summer
Bespoke garden seat with Kebony top
Relaxed seating area