Wildlife Haven

Portfolio / Wildlife Haven

The owners of this garden wanted a place to relax and entertain friends and planting that was beneficial to wildlife. The garden has views of mature trees and the design sought to maintain these views while creating interest points within the garden in the form of a pergola, camomile lawn, large deck and wildlife-friendly pond. The garden is south-facing so a shaded seating area was a prerequisite.

Being near a floodplain meant the door thresholds were 500mm above ground level and decking was chosen as a solution to deal with the change in height. Wide deck walkways run from either side of the deck around the house and provide easy access to the garage and a secure storage area.

The large deck is carefully balanced with generous plant borders which are stocked with insect and bird-friendly perennials, berry-producing shrubs and scented plants including herbs. The small pond by the deck has a water cascade and is a popular drinking and bathing place for birds and home to frogs.

Most of the following photographs were taken 2 months after the planting was completed.

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View of the rear garden after some initial clearance. In addition to providing a practical year-round place to relax, the design has made this small space seem larger and more interesting.

Timber sleeper steps link the main deck with the pergola. The brown square in the centre of the space will be a chamomile lawn. The layout is asymmetrical to break up the square shape of the garden and the timber for the paths, seating areas and steps has been laid in different directions to add interest to the design. The grooved, tanalised timber has been left to age to silver-grey for a natural look.

The pergola provides a shaded area in which a hammock may be hung. An existing rose is being trained over it along with scented honeysuckle. Adjacent to this is the recently planted chamomile lawn.

Vibrant colours were chosen for the borders near the house with cooler silvers and blues further away to give more depth to the garden. In the background of the picture is a clipped box hedge which will eventually screen views of the fence.

Wide, shallow steps from the house make access into the garden comfortable and safe. The raised deck also contributed to reducing the overall drop from the door threshold to the ground. The path provides level access around the house.

View of the newly planted pond edged with hosta, rogersia, astilbe and pendulous sedge. A ‘spring’ emerges from the rocks on the back right. The right side of the pond has a gently sloping side to provide access for wildlife.

A view across the garden from the side passageway. A large parasol was needed since this southerly aspect gets very hot in summer. The decking does not absorb or reflect heat as much a stone or concrete surface would.

The deck path going towards the front garden includes inset lights and was made wide enough to for a bike. The palisade fence on the right replaces a chain link one. In a few years the box hedge will grow big enough to give this area some green structure.

The timber sleeper treads provide a dry route to the pergola from the deck and pass through the newly planted chamomile lawn. Herbs including the blue flowering hyssop, chives, rosemary, thyme and a bay in a pot flank the path.

Our old garden had some well established plants, shrubs and trees, but had become rather overgrown and uncared for. We weren’t able to make good use of the south facing rear garden for entertaining friends, or just sitting out on a summer’s evening. Erika really listened to what we wanted to achieve, and we were impressed by her very professional approach throughout the process.

The rear deck is a great place to sit and enjoy our new garden, and the new garden lighting means we can continue to enjoy it after dark. The pond is very popular with the garden birds, and has already attracted frogs and newts. The deck paths make access to the garden much easier than it was before, and the storage area keeps our wheelie bins out of sight and out of the way.

The new garden design has maximized the use of the available space, and complements the house well. The plants are growing really well and we’re looking forward to seeing the garden develop and mature over the next few years.

Will and Annette