Having extended their house, Adam and Sarah Johnson felt it was time to create the country garden they’d always wanted. Supplementing their own ideas and practical skills, they enlisted designer Christine Lees for her flair and particular expertise in wildlife-friendly, country gardens.
What they did:
- Connected the garden to the wider landscape
- Mixed native and non-native plant species
- Added trees to provide shade and structure
The brief was to create a garden ‘that felt as if it had always been there’ — reaching sympathetically into the surrounding landscape.
The features at the top of the family’s wishlist were an attractive and practical approach leading to the house, a lawn for playing croquet and a wildflower meadow.
Planning and Landscaping
A master plan was drawn up for this three acre site. Bordered lawns and terraces defined different areas in which to relax and entertain, including a secluded courtyard, rose garden and potager.
These cultivated gardens lead into the more informal (predominantly native) plantings of woodland and meadow, restored to land previously cleared for farming.
The landscaping was undertaken incrementally over several seasons. At each stage Christine drew up detailed plans and specifications for the next area to be built and planted.
Wildlife at Home
Moorhens live on the pond and forage for snails in the borders, where native species mix with ornamental plants. For added visual interest, some ornamental plants have been included around the pond — notably the gunnera, with its dramatic architectural foliage.
Native trees shelter the gardens, and hedges of native species add character. Planting includes rabbit-resistant species, such as Crambe cordifolia — although the dog plays her part in keeping these visitors in check.
Within the wildflower meadow, a number of specimen trees – including a snakebark maple – have been planted, selected with an eye to the future. There is an increasing number of butterflies and other insects in the wildflower meadow.
The garden grows and develops over time, in line with Adam and Sarah’s enthusiasm, as a new plant or sculpture is discovered and brought home.