Oriental Flavour

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Portfolio / Oriental Flavour

The owner of this garden wanted a Japanese flavour and also wished to retain a good area of lawn and include a pond. Although 30 metres in length the garden was just 3 metres wide so the design sought to subtly divide the space into different areas. Leading from the French windows is a large bamboo-lined deck for sunbathing and entertaining, this leads to a terrace planted with evergreen Japanese grass. Nestled in amongst Japanese iris and sedge next to the path is a rock-lined pond with a bamboo ‘click-clack’ water feature. The gravel path leads to a third area which is a kidney-shaped lawn to visually widen the garden. At the end of the garden planting is used to disguise the shed and storage area beyond.

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Looking from the patio doors the main feature of the garden was the shed. The split level patio was impractical to use and the garden lacked vegetation.

The same view 13 months after planting showing the deck edged with bamboo. There is now interest all the way up the garden so the shed at the end is less noticeable.

Close-up of the old patio with a step in the middle of it making it difficult to use.

The same view with the ground levelled to accommodate a deck. The planting along the right edge disguises the concrete base of the fence. The wall is covered with evergreen Clematis armundii.

The wire mesh fence on the left has been concealed with brushwood panels. The shed has receded into the background by painting it green and is also partly hidden by two upright Japanese privets on either side.

Close-up of the terrace between the deck and the pond area which is dominated by the evergreen variegated grass Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ mixed with Veronica prostrate ‘Trehane’, and the sword-leaved Sysyrinchium striatum behind.

(Before) A view towards the house showing the original garden features of a rockery (left) and tiny pond (right) with the uneven, narrow path running up the right side of the plot

The view afterwards showing the organic lines of the path and lawn with plants to give height and soften the fences.

Looking down from the end of the garden where the slope of the land is quite noticeable. There was a need to disguise the boundaries of this narrow garden.

Strongly shaped plants have been used to create height and to screen-off the view down the side of the shed. Taken 13 months after planting, the strap-leaved Phormium cookianum subsp. hookeri ‘Tricolor’ takes centre stage

The pond in spring, 13 months after completion, showing moisture-loving Iris Sibirica in full flower.

View of the garden from the house highlighting the three main areas of the design – deck, pond and lawn. There is a storage and composting area behind the shed.

Plan of garden showing large deck area, terrace, pond, lawn and shed with storage area to the rear.

Planting plan showing a predominance of structural evergreen plants and grasses.

Sketches showing views looking up the garden from the deck, and towards the house from beside the shed.

Before, my garden was merely a strip of lawn with an unsightly rockery and water feature. The unevenly laid patio was split on two levels making it impractical to use, and apart from mowing the lawn I didn’t spend an awful lot of time in it. Since the transformation the whole garden’s purpose has changed and it is now more of an extension of my home. I look forward to coming home in the evening to spend time quietly relaxing outside, but the garden is also great for having friends round for a barbecue and their kids love the pond with its frogs and the moving bamboo water feature.

My favourite areas of the garden are the deck which is a real suntrap and the path winding its way around the pond. I love the sound the bamboo makes as it moves in the breeze and the elegant Japanese irises and grasses surrounding the pond.

I can’t believe how quickly everything is growing and I’m really looking forward to watching the garden mature over the next few years. Apart from cutting the lawn and the odd bit of weeding, I have to do very little in the garden to keep it looking nice which is good since I am still a novice at this sort of thing!

I wanted a garden loosely based on a Japanese planting theme with calming greens and elegant plant forms, a private entertaining area and wildlife pond. The designer listened to what I wanted and the garden really has surpassed my expectations. I would like to thank Hunt Garden Creations for creating a little piece of heaven for me and for their continuing advice and support!

Ngaire Hornby