This year is shaping up to be a highly productive, challenging and inspiring one. With many initiatives currently under way - in both professional and personal spheres - it's getting a bit difficult to keep track of everything. However, it's these periods of change and development that keep life interesting, and open up new opportunities.
With a number of projects at the build stage I will be profiling a few different gardens in the coming months, but am starting 2012 with a project for a cottage in south Oxfordshire. The clients are having the ground floor remodelled to include a new, two-storey oak-and-glass extension. The challenge of the site, which slopes back towards the house, is to provide a series of interconnected terrace areas, each of sufficient size to be useful on its own, but together providing a fluid and flexible arena for entertaining larger groups.
Here, three terrace areas on two different levels wrap around the new extension, with a gravelled area, capable of being used for playing boules or acting as 'overflow' terrace, form the areas of hard landscaping near to the house. The upper garden retains a large area of lawn for childrens' play, with a line of fruit trees installed to act as a screen but also to form a backdrop to a possible future vegetable garden acessed by the pathway, which will then run through the middle of the productive area. The terraces and lower garden are screened from the lawn by staggered blocks of evergreen hedging and perennial planting to keep footballs out of the sitting areas, while areas of mixed perennial planting are brought down to the very bottom of the garden, providing scent and visual interest close to the house and arrival zone.
The project is at tender stage, and with committed clients I anticipate a quick decision and some serious earth-shifting in the spring!