Sustainable growth

This large open garden in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, was not fulfilling it’s potential. Irregular lines and garden buildings at odd angles to the house made the garden feel cluttered and the spaces uncomfortable. With two young children, the Client wanted a garden to “live” in, to entertain family & friends, to grow fruit & vegetables, and space for the children to play safely & explore the natural environment.

In order to make more of the area available, the large open garden was divided into smaller spaces, with pathways to lead the visitor through the garden.

A Yorkstone terrace spans the rear of the house and is separated from the main garden with generous brick-built beds. Two different seating areas have been formed – a comfortable family dining space and a smaller area outside the home office serves as a break-out space for morning coffee. 

The terrace leads directly into the kitchen vegetable garden. Beds have been formed to accommodate a four-year veg crop rotation and perennial fruiting shrubs, with a herb bed providing an aromatic backdrop to the terrace dining area. The beds are irrigated by a solar-powered pumped rainwater-harvesting system fed from the new greenhouse roof and, together with large new composting bins, will help create a more sustainable future for the family. The existing summerhouse was moved to align with the house, restored & repainted. A small bench intended as a place to pause also handily provides a “leg up” to climb the cherry blossom tree above.

The bespoke pergola beautifully crafted by SJS Solutions  spanning the garden is a striking feature from which hangs a simple wooden swing, and will in time be draped with fragrant honeysuckle & clematis. This leads to a generous patio with ample space for entertaining family & friends. Catching the last of the day’s sun, the space strung with a canopy of vintage-style festoon lights will make the most of warm summer nights.

The swing marks the threshold of the dedicated childrens’ play area, where the use of tree trunk slices as stepping stones and timber offcuts defining pathways creates a natural environment ready to explore. The area behind the existing playhouse has been opened up with the “woodland walk” enticing not only the children to explore, and the trampoline has been counter-sunk below-ground to reduce it’s visual impact. While still visible from the house through the soft grasses, this flexible play area allows the children to play independently and adapt it to their changing needs as they grow older. 

The planting scheme with gently swaying grasses weaving throughout has been selected to provide year-round interest with minimal maintenance & irrigation.

With thanks to all the hardworking team at Refined Landscapes .

Irregular lines made the existing garden cluttered & uninviting

Irregular lines made the existing garden cluttered & uninviting

Dividing up the large garden will make the space feel bigger

Dividing up the large garden will make the space feel bigger

Brickwork detail in the new paving ties the new with the old

Brickwork detail in the new paving ties the new with the old

A comfortable dining space with views over the veg garden

A comfortable dining space with views over the veg garden

A generous patio for entertaining & catching the last of the sun

A generous patio for entertaining & catching the last of the sun

A winding path entices you to explore behind the  playhouse

A winding path entices you to explore behind the playhouse

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HITCHIN | UK