This is a very small garden, originally a tiny patch of grass with an ancient wooden conservatory, concrete coal hole and several unusable areas surrounded by ramshackle boundaries. The brief was extensive as the family loves time outside and is very sociable. They were also keen to encourage as much wildlife as possible. The workshop is used full time by the owner (so had to stay) and there needed to be room for storage, space for a 6ft trampoline, BBQ and water to paddle in. Consideration for the view from the main living room was also key.
The garden was completely cleared, including removal of the conservatory, coal hole, borders, lawn and fences. The design divides the space with a large raised bed, which has the additional function of supporting the built-in bench. This division means each area links efficiently and creates space through interest and variety. The U shape bench can seat up to 12 people with space for a central fire pit. The family also has a large folding circular table and 2 chairs to convert this into a dining area. There is a huge canopy which covers the entire seating area - vital as this garden is a south facing sun trap and gets very hot. Part of the raised bed is actually a tiled dip pool so you can either sit on the bench with your feet over the side or just get in and cool off! This pool feeds a waterfall down to a smaller wildlife pond where reeds and grasses filter and clean the water, before returning it to the dip pool. This means no chemicals are required. Also catering for wildlife is planting under the benches and a huge selection of bee friendly perennials against a backdrop of structural shrubs for winter.
Pictures below; Geometric shapes give a sense of dynamism, whilst details reflect the local area and the colour and planting pallette is simple.
The raised bed lifts a whole section of plants to create a foliage and floral view from the interior seating area. A new fence was added to screen the neighbours and a storage shed is tucked into the corner for maintenance tools and a huge amount of cushions! The paving reuses the existing York stone whose joints are planted with creeping thyme, whilst the raised bed is partially clad with locally found chalk flints - echoing the walls of neighbouring properties. To improve the view from upstairs (and insulation from within) the shed now has a green sedum roof. To improve the view for the owner while working, the smaller shed windows were replaced with full width double glazing.
This garden is extremely hard working and is used everyday, in summer it supersedes the house to become the main space to spend time - relaxing, dining, playing and working - truly a Twenty-Four Seven space.
Before photos below