4. Wall top detail 5. House brick colours 6. Edging detail
7. Central steps up to patio 8. Wall top & edging detail
9. Central steps entrance pillar detail + accessories
I thought I'd share with you some of the thought processes that went into the final product. We moved here in 1999 to a complete blank canvas as the house was newly built. All we had was a 15 metre (approx 50 feet) square garden, newly turfed except for a line of paviors across the back next to the house and some steps set into a steep bank about a third of the way in. The garden's on a slope (about 1 in 10), so initially we weren't quite sure where to start, but knew that the slope gave us the potential to put together a good design with a 'wow factor'
So we sat just looking at it and scratching our heads for a year, often sitting on the steps to get the feel of being in the middle of it all. The builders had made a large flat area next to the house cut diagonally across the garden. That helped us to make our first couple of decisions - to keep most of the flat area as the patio and to retain its diagonal line. We also knew we'd need to retain the steps to get us to the next level of the garden - in fact we ended up with 3 sets of steps from the patio, so we could have 'a journey' round the garden. Step sitting's still one of my favourite places (especially at dusk when the bats are out), in spite of the many inviting places we have on the patio itself now. With those ideas in mind, I put together many rough sketches (back of fag packet more like) to discuss with NAH. Finally we were both happy with one of them, but knew the amount of construction work involved needed us to GAMI (get a man in) - I'll cover how we chose him in another post.
The drawing we got back from our chosen GAMI, not only took our design, but improved it. It was his idea to put the S curve into the patio's shape. Next we had to think about materials - our house is mainly red brick with yellow brick details, so we thought it would be good to reverse those colours for the patio. We chose a pavior that's close in colour to both the yellow brickwork and the big chunks of local stone we keep finding in our soil, with a small red 'cobble' plus a red brick for contrast. As the patio is so large (Across the whole width of the garden and 27 feet at its widest point, tapering to a mere 6 and a half feet at the other end), I thought we needed to break up the expanse a little using a several pavior sizes set randomly throughout the area and I also liked the idea of an inset circle in the widest part. We also decided to have a low dividing wall between the patio and the next part of the garden - the terrace bedding either side of the central steps. It was GAMI's idea to add the pillars at each side. Finally, we added just one small planting area (GAMI had suggested several initially) at the eastern end, to enable me to grow strawberries and herbs (this was pre allotment days) plus some climbers up the wall of next door's garage. 8 years on we're still happy with the final result of this and the garden's overall design. I now feel very differently about the planting though and having put this post together I think I need to clean the patio!
Apologies for the continued centralised formatting - this is my first photo composition blogged from Picasa and I haven't been able to override the formatting to get it to the left for the text.