Creative Muse

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The garden was a completely blank canvas and accessed through a narrow gap. The clients wanted a summerhouse to use as a writing studio, an area for growing vegetables and space that was sociable and uplifting. The site leant itself well to a circular design and trees were placed to eventually screen off buildings and provide more privacy. To create an element of drama, a substantial pergola walk was built at the entrance to the garden which provides support for clematis and honeysuckle. Eventually this will form a living tunnel into the garden. Planting includes fruit trees, herbs and mainly flowering perennials. It has been a delight to see the pleasure the clients have gained from the garden and their continued dedication towards it.

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Unusually, the garden is accessed through a narrow gap and little of it is visible from the house itself.


A substantial pergola walk was introduced leading into the garden space. It was made deliberately tall and narrow to emphasise the transition from a small to a larger space. The pergola will eventually be covered with scented climbers and the owner has put lights on it.


A tall extension dominates one side of the garden and it was important to draw attention away from this. The narrow access to the house can be seen on the right.


A Betula albosinensis ‘Fascination’ and Sorbus aucuparia ‘Fastigiata’ will screen off the extension once they have grown. They were chosen to be upright in growth while not casting too much shade onto the perennial border beneath. The summerhouse is used as a writing studio and has good views of the flower borders and a pleasant outlook onto neighbouring trees. The curved elements of the design fit well in the site and make it feel spacious.


In the far corner a strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, has been included to screen off an overlooking window and provide easy-to-manage evergreen structure. Either side apple and pear trees have been planted and some wall shrubs will eventually clothe the fence. Behind the circular seating area of Raj sandstone, a row of Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ standards provide softening evergreen foliage, creating a better sense of enclosure and privacy whilst remaining a manageable size.


Against the fence a small greenhouse was included in the vegetable area which receives plenty of sun. The path is edged with sawn, tumbled Raj sandstone setts and the Breedon gravel complements this well. The photo, taken in late summer shows grasses, asters and echinacea at their best but the planting provides colour throughout the year.


Working with Erika was a joy from start to finish. Her whole process from initial meeting, her first designs, right the way through to her project management were second to none. Her artistic skill combined with her extensive plant and garden knowledge make her truly exceptional in this area of work. Her ideas, concepts and working within a clear budget were all achieved perfectly. The team of contractors she brought in, again too were outstanding, and they worked well as a partnership to deliver the finished result both on time and on budget. Erika transformed our garden and our whole house and living environment so beautifully. We will be recommending her to all our friends and colleagues, many thanks, Erika.

Marcus and Susie.