Labrador Bay

Year of completion
Labrador Bay, South Devon
Landscape Contractor
South Hams Fencing and Landscaping
VESP Architects, Ashburton
Goulden & Sons, Totnes
Richard Downer Photography

Lou and Rob embarked on this radical journey to create a one-of-a-kind home perched on the edge of a cliff, aiming for something that wouldn’t just sit on the land but become part of it. They knew their project might shake things up in the area, with a house coming down and new construction, but they were determined to keep the impact contained, focusing mainly on the garden area of their vast 20-acre plot.

Lou was all about seeing the big picture. She understood that the landscape and the architecture had to dance together, so she contacted me early to ensure the landscape design was developed alongside the house design. Their goal? To not just recover from construction but to make the land even more vibrant and diverse than before, ditching the typical manicured lawns for something wilder and more alive.

Pulling off a project this massive took a team. As well as the architects, engineers, geotechnical and drainage consultants all pitching in to make their dream a reality. And let’s not forget Goulden & Sons, the real heroes who made it happen on the ground.

Aerial view of natural pond and amphitheatre with fire pit

They didn’t just plonk the house on the hillside; they nestled it in, softening its impact on the landscape. The heart of their vision lay in creating outdoor spaces that would serve as extensions of their home, providing opportunities for connection with nature and breathtaking views of the sea. From the expansive roof terrace to the intimate sitting areas nestled within the garden.

Lou was all about bringing the land back to life so we set out a planting strategy to blend the garden into the surrounding woodland. We implemented a planting scheme that would not only beautify the landscape but also support local biodiversity and naturalise over time. From reintroducing woodland flora to creating coastal wildflower meadows, every element of the design was carefully considered to enhance the ecology of the site.

Building the house was a thrill, but for Lou, the real magic was watching the landscape come alive around them through the seasons. Their home wasn’t just a house; it was a living, breathing part of the land, a testament to their love for nature and their vision for a more sustainable future.

Driveway descends through woodland edge planting
Sweeping path through coastal wildflower meadow
Steel bridge connecting green roof to house entrance
Green roof planted with grasses and perennials
Aerial view of full landscape design nestled in cliff
Sea view across garden
Glimpse of the sea across planting
Grass planting to ground house in the setting
View across green roof
Front view of amphitheatre steps and new planting
Recently completed garden with paving, retaining walls and steps
Rear view of the coastal house and garden