Located on a main road through a tiny rural village, George Street is a very special house of two halves.  Originally built around 1800 and extended several times since, the house had stood empty and unloved since 2015, awaiting its next custodians.   Located within a very sensitive conservation area, it was home to two huge (and much loved) TPO trees.  Along with the clients and interior specialists, we worked with the architect and planners throughout the substantial renovation and extension of this beautiful old property.

The Georgian frontage of the house was lovingly restored and now has an elegantly landscaped front garden and permeable driveway, bordered with new brick walling, hand forged gates and railings, lawns, large topiary spheres and tightly clipped hedges; a simple, tidy façade that is in keeping with the traditional symmetry of the original part of the house that is beautifully, but subtly, illuminated after dark.

In stark contrast to the front of the property, the rear of the house is completely new and boasts impressive double height glass windows and doors that required a more contemporary garden to suit.

Lee Bestall, our Director of Design & Innovation, led the development of this project and adds, “I remember the first meeting with our clients when they quickly admitted they were not gardeners, so the scheme was to be maintained by others.  We proposed using plants as ‘art’ – selecting species for their structure and mass rather than flowering colour or seasonal interest.  It was a refreshing brief and one that’s led us to love this simple perfection.

Our brief was to create a garden that looked great all year round, and for that I knew we had to use a lot of evergreens, hedges and grasses rather than our usual pallet of herbaceous perennials.  There really are not many flowers at all in this garden (just a few white ones here and there), preferring neatly clipped, well managed areas of shrubs and hedging, softened in part with the delicate foliage of ferns and the oatmeal plumes of Miscanthus from late summer to early spring.

With lots of glass on both levels, increasing privacy was imperative, so we kept as many trees as we could and included two rows of pleached Hornbeam to add height, privacy and balance as well as structure and to define the children’s play area from the main lawn.

As the rear of the house faces north, we chose not to locate seating areas in the predictable places, and opted for two glass cubes visually connected by two tabletop trees.  Both cubes have sliding glass walls which open inwards, linking the comfy corner sofa area with the island bar, complete with wifi and a drinks fridge”.

The garden construction phase was around one year in total as front and rear were built independently.  Whilst it did mean we could plant trees and hedging in the rear garden at the right time of year, the front was much more challenging!  Due to access requirements for the building teams, the interior fit out companies, electrical installers, delayed gas upgrade works, very lengthy party wall delays and finally the discovery of a dying tree (yep, the TPO tree much loved by the whole village) … don’t let the simplistic appearance of this finished garden fool you into thinking it was easy!