Landscape Design, Petersfield, Hampshire
A landscape project in Petersfield, Hampshire. Planning and designing an elegant and varied terraced country garden with lighting throughout.
This wasn’t a usual project for us, but we saw the garden as being an outside room, or series of rooms, and so outside we went! This landscape project in Petersfield, Hampshire entailed the planning and designing of a complete country garden, and we had a blank canvas to lay out and design the entire area.
The site sloped upwards away from the house and we terraced the garden to three main levels in order to make the whole space more usable. We built walls between the levels as backdrops to the planting, with flintwork panels to match the materials of the main property and the surrounding area. We paid close attention to the material choices – right down to the mix of the mortars – to ensure that the new works would be in keeping with the rest of the house. They had to be sympathetic to the original period property – not looking out of place or too ‘new’.
One of our main design concepts was for the garden to feel like it flowed out into the landscape, with the design and planting becoming softer towards the boundary and merging into the wider vista behind it. The garden wasn’t to be limited by its boundary.
The first level of the terrace – the first room – is a large outdoor dining and seating area. Here next to the back of the main house the design and planting is the most formal. It is a perfectly sheltered and secluded spot for dining, and from which the garden can be enjoyed. We thought it so important that it doesn’t feel like the garden is being looked up to though, so in our ground works design we excavated the first terrace of the garden itself and the lawn to be at the same level. With this part of the garden and planting being in a similar proportion to the terrace, they enjoy a close relationship, with the terrace feeling very much like it’s part of its own garden.
The architectural design of the steps and pillars was carefully considered in order to have spacious and relaxing proportions, and flow gently up and through the garden. These were inspired by visits to historic gardens nearby in Hampshire, and the paving and steps follow a clear axis from the back of the kitchen up to the top of the garden, creating a magnificent effect as the garden is viewed from the house.
The next level of the garden is laid to lawn with beds behind, and then steps to the top level. This part of the garden was organised to ensure that this lawn was large enough to be used as a badminton court. It’s also a little less formal than the area around the terrace, reflecting our desire to soften the garden further from the house.
On the top level of the garden the lawn gives way to large areas of wildflower meadow. Growing tall and moving with the breeze, this planting not only limits the amount of maintenance required in the garden, it is the softness that segues into the meadows behind the property boundary. The hawthorn trees near the boundary were kept so the eye looks to them and then through them to the trees and landscape beyond.
A further seating area – or rather another room – is the G&T terrace on the top level. Nestled into the wild flower in the top corner of the site, this is the last place to get the sun in the evening. A perfect place for a relaxing drink, and to view across the garden and down to the house.
There’s also circulation around the side of the garden, providing access to another room with raised growing beds, as well as outbuildings.
We also installed lighting throughout the garden, carefully designed for different purposes. Small copper LED fittings in the brickwork of the steps provides wayfinding light. Spike lights in the beds illuminate the plants and the flintwork behind them, and they can be moved around as needed and as the planting matures or changes. The fruit trees within the wildflower meadow are lit and are a wonderful feature when viewed from the terrace. Around the top G&T terrace discreet bollard fittings wash light down into the planting and paving to discreetly illuminate this area. All of the lighting can be controlled remotely and on a smartphone app, so the clients don’t need to return to the house to adjust the lighting – only for more cold drinks.