Before & After Photos
This small garden in Barwick-in-Elmet was a typical back garden - garage down one side, small lawn, narrow borders, fence and a small patio by the house.
The layout emphasised the fact that the garden was small and pretty boring. The most dominant feature was the boundary fence.
In this design, by building an interesting raised bed in the middle of the garden, the eye is drawn away from the boundaries and, in time as the plants grow, sightlines to the edge will be blocked. In this way, as well as making the garden more attractive, it makes it feel larger than before.
The little outside cabin is an attractive alternative to a basic shed and provides an outdoor living space with views of the garden. It also helps block the view of the neighbouring properties. The covered walkway to the left of the picture provides support for climbing plants and draws the eye away from the concrete garage it is screening.
In this back garden in Pool in Wharfedale, raised beds were built using tanalised sleepers which were then burnt with a flame thrower. This creates the darkened appearance and helps preserve the timber by giving it a hardened outer coating.
Raised beds are great for creating perfect planting conditions for new plants and give height to the garden. With the raised beds, planting, pergola and new shed, loads is packed into this small space but it still feels bigger than it did before, even with a larger patio. There's even room for a small artificial lawn for the dog.
The patio in this picture is porcelain which, although more expensive than sandstone, looks superb and should stay looking just as good as this for years to come.
My clients wanted to make the most of this small space which was left after the rest of the garden was taken up by their new conservatory. The idea in this case, was to create interest with different levels using fixed planters and striking, specimen plants. Also using the whole space, including the middle, the garden is made to feel bigger than it actually is.
The middle section of planters includes one that has been made into a small pond with a bell shaped fountain - I always think the noise of water adds to the relaxing atmosphere in a garden. The pond, together with the logs under the seats and the plants in general, make the garden a little oasis for wildlife as well as one for humans. A sun sail/shade was also installed - a great, cost effective addition to the garden which is a real sun trap.
In this case my clients had just had an extension built that has lovely large patio doors opening up onto a small back garden that was overlooked by surrounding properties.
The aim of the garden was to create a low maintenance, attractive space that also served to screen the window and sitting area to provide a bit more privacy.
This was achieved by using fixed, raised planters around a main decking area that leads directly out from the extension. As well as the raised beds, the plants chosen will grow to provide a screen and, in addition, there is a sun sail/shade which can be put across the deck blocking the view into the window.
As with most gardens, you may note that I have still found space for a "whirly-gig" washing line!
This was a garden for a semi retired lady, living on her own, who loves her plants and ornaments. She wanted a garden with a little more order, more room for plants and one that was not too hard to look after. She also valued her privacy so we used the garden project as a good opportunity to replace her fence.
The garden design makes use of two raised beds that look a little "ying and yangish" although I had meteorites in mind when I designed them. The beds are made from stepped, vertical mini sleepers, screwed together and set in concrete. Being raised the beds are easy to garden and provide lots of perching places for ornaments. The remainder of the garden is covered by a weed suppressing fabric covered with a mix of cobbles and pebbles. My customer did the planting herself and by the end of the summer the beds were a spectacular riot of colour. The photograph was taken shortly after the work was completed in May.
In this case my customers, who were on the verge of retiring, decided they would like to have a vegetable garden so they could combine their love of gardening and cooking. The area in which they live has heavy clay soil and their back garden tended to be underwater for a good part of the year and not perhaps the best location for salad crops.
To overcome this and to create an attractive, easy to maintain vegetable garden, raised beds were a must. A number of alternatives were discussed and in the end large, new, softwood sleepers were chosen. I only use pressure treated wood for use in a garden and these substantial timbers should do the job required for many years to come and have none of the risks associated with using old, reclaimed sleepers. In addition to the beds, sleepers with a deck floor were used to raise the greenhouse up above the floods.