An eastern influence

Tucked high up in the South Shropshire Hills, this early Victorian farmhouse had undergone a huge restoration. The clients wanted to develop a damp and shady area immediately outside the rear of the farmhouse. They had previously lived in Japan and liked the idea of a restful garden with a strong Japanese theme, whilst not wanting to instigate a culture clash with Shropshire Victoriana! The garden was a flat area approximately 8 x 16 metres with steep banks on two sides leading up to the rest of the garden.

A perfectly balanced garden design

I took what the clients considered the essence of Japanese gardens as my starting point: simplicity, texture, greenery, natural materials and structure. To separate the Japanese influenced area from the rural landscape, the banks around the edge of the garden became dry stone walls, topped with modern, sawn limestone coping, with stone steps leading up and out into the wider landscape. A modern stone path curved elegantly through the gravelled garden, past domes of topiarised yew, bamboos, miniature pine domes, ferns and Japanese Forest Grass to an intimate floating cedar bench. Height was provided by Japanese Acers and Dogwood Trees. The focal point of the garden was a large stone ball, built by a drystone master craftsman, echoing a concave aperture in the wall behind it.

A separate hot and sunny part of the grounds was developed into a tiny Mediterranean style gravel garden for the clients to sit for their morning coffee.