Modern Detached House in Epsom

Designing for a modern detached house garden

This is a medium sized garden of a recently built house in Epsom, Surrey. It was a typical new build garden – narrow, straight beds along the boundary fences with an almost square lawn covering the rest – all in all pretty uninspiring. There were a few plants that were worth keeping – a couple of small trees, some climbers in pots and a couple of lovely white climbing roses spreading across the back fence, but that was about it.

The patio adjacent to the house was in decent condition and the view from the house across it, through the completely glazed rear of the property would be spectacular if there was something worth looking at!

Steve is a great communicator and that’s why he started on the right foot with my wife. He listened first, then he advised and then he created – and we ended up with a beautiful transformed garden. At the same time he encouraged me to work on the garden and taught me how to look after it. All done with agreed rates and open costing which allowed us to have control over the finance and progress of works.

Meeting the client’s brief

The brief was to provide bigger beds with more interest and year round planting, to retain the decent trees and climbers and to provide screening at the back of the garden so the next door neighbours beyond the back fence didn’t have a view into the garden.  They also wanted a small patio towards the back of the garden to catch the evening sun.

In terms of the shape of the garden the Client asked for clean straight lines, parallel and perpendicular to the house and definitely not curves. When I started sketching the options for what the Client had asked for, it became apparent that this might not be the optimum design. When we next met I went through the various options, including one with curves just to make sure it wasn’t what they wanted, and there were elements of all of them that they liked. The last one was my banker, the one I felt was the right design – straight lines but on a 45 degree diagonal across the garden – and they loved it. A few minor tweaks to this one and that was the basis of the design finished.

This just goes to show, that although it’s important to listen to what the Client wants, their wishes mustn’t be set in stone – they must be adaptable to ensure the right design for the space.

Garden Construction and Design

This was one I built and planted myself with the help of the Client as labourer – it saved them money and also gave them great satisfaction as they felt an integral part of it – it wasn’t just something that somebody else had built – it had their stamp on it!

We started in the middle of winter in very frozen ground , trying to rip out the old railway sleepers that formed the edges of the flower beds – what a back breaking task that seemed to take forever, but we got there in the end. Once they were clear we could set out the series of angled lines that were to form the beds, path and patio area towards the back of the garden to catch the late afternoon sun.

The border on the right as you look from the house was generally shady and would become the cool ‘white’ border the Client wanted with the opposite sunny one a vibrant colourful border. The screening at the bottom of the garden was achieved with a row of fantastic pleached hornbeams, which although not evergreen, keep their leaves throughout winter and effectively provide a hedge on legs above the fence line.

Digging out for the trees proved eventful as there was a patio buried about 200mm down, which had a solid concrete base and like the sleepers was an absolute nightmare to break out – the good news was it provided a lot of good rubble for under the paths and new patio – a bit of recycling is always a good thing!

Once the trees were in, the path and patio were swiftly constructed, closely followed by the most enjoyable job – the planting – which absolutely transformed the garden.

The Clients were delighted with the end result and now enjoy a relaxing glass of something on the patio soaking up the last of the suns’ rays surrounded by fragrant lavenders.