My own garden here in The Cotswolds has been 3 years in the planning & we could not be more delighted now it is complete. It is a simple, low maintenance courtyard garden that uses really beautiful mostly natural elements.
I tweaked the design many times, mostly to fit budget but also during the build when we encountered a couple of issues; The beautiful mature Acers were supposed to be planted in the ground. Unfortunately we soon discovered the water table was so high – at just 50cm below ground level, we could not possibly risk them drowning. We therefore had to plant them in planters instead. These are 2 metres wide by 1 metre deep in corten steel & do the job beautifully. I actually think they look better this way & it gave me the opportunity to treat them as raised beds, add pretty underplanting to soften the masculine look I originally planned.
Our house is an 18th century Cotswold stone barn which we extended to create this courtyard of buildings. The Cotswold stone feature wall adds architecturally to the structure & works beautifully. Whilst digging the pool we found sufficient stone to build it which makes it even more special. The 3 lead spouts were made to order by the same foundry who made the lions in Trafalgar square so they have a pretty good pedigree! This pool faces the kitchen & is the main feature in the garden. It is great to walk over the stepping stones to the terrace & if you look hard you will see some really pretty goldfish darting about below.
The garden is south facing & gets very hot indeed which is why I wanted & needed shade. Natural shade beneath trees is SO much nicer than under a brolly or a faded fabric canopy & they bring birds into the garden too. We get quite a range & love to sit beneath them fluttering about.
Behind the fence & two pairs of gates is actually a much larger space than we realised when we first viewed the house. The previous owner had filled the place with hedges plonked randomly everywhere so it was very difficult to gauge the space.We now have a kitchen garden with raised beds, a small orchard, large shed & wood store with working area to chop logs etc & this year 2022 we also built a home gym. It’s a fully insulated black clad building that fits beautifully behind one off the hedges we decided to keep so is virtually invisible from the main garden. We have great equipment, lots of mirrors, a proper rubber floor & entertainment via a large smart TV with surround sound speakers. Unfortunately despite all that I do find it hard to drag myself in there – I can always find an excuse! I must try harder:)
The garden is designed to work throughout the seasons & the lighting scheme I designed ensures it really comes to life at night. I honestly practice what I preach & I so love my job…
All the good photos are by James @ JAW