sharon brown garden designs
Separator
Photo of a flower

PORTFOLIO

Contemporary Garden

Contemporary Garden

With conifers at the rear, several oddly shaped trees and shrubs and a large uninteresting patio area this garden was in desperate need of a revamp. The clients asked for a modern feel and were happy to lose a lot of the lawn while gaining more interesting features.

In order to achieve a contemporary look, a combination of geometric lines and silver granite aggregate paving and walling with paths and edging of muted grey blocks was used. Working with the original slope of the garden, changes in level rising up from the house to the rear of the garden were included with the final destination being a large patio area with square pergola over. The lines of the pergola also kept to the geometric theme with no overhanging beams, just a simple square shape. This was planted with three Humulus lupulus aureus (Golden hop) which once established should grow from ground level every year to cover the whole area and several Clematis whose flowers will provide a good contrast with the yellow leaves of the hop.

Raised beds provide visual interest and along with a couple of pebble-filled planting areas will help to reduce the effort needed to maintain the garden. The clients wanted to continue growing annuals but no longer wanted any pots so spaces have been left in some of the beds for them to plant as they choose. Eventually fences and trellis will be covered with climbers including Clematis, Euonymus and Trachelospermum while beds have been planted with a mixture of shrubs and perennials to provide year-round interest. A Euonymus hedge has been planted across the garden in front of the patio and shed areas to provide a splash of gold throughout the year.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Parking and Planting

Parking and Planting

Let’s face it, driveways can be boring but they can also be very expensive to replace so it is important to ensure the best possible look is achieved. In this instance the client wanted to have planting between the house and garage but still needed access for wheelie bins through this area. As well as parking in front of the garage space was needed for regular visitors so other planting beds had to be kept to a minimum.

The client chose Tegular paving which comes in three different sized bricks. In order to break up the large expanse of paving, rectangular panels of single large bricks were inserted at right angles to the main pattern. This provides a visual break while remaining subtle in appearance. This rectangular theme was continued in the individual planting beds around the corner. A planting plan was provided which the clients followed, with one bed being left blank for them to plant annuals of their choosing. This project was completed in the spring with these photos taken mid-summer (just after the foxgloves had finished flowering).

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Relaxation Garden

Relaxation Garden

The clients requested a garden that wasn’t flat and would include two linked ponds, a smaller area of lawn and it was to be a lovely calm place to relax. When they saw the plans included a sunken garden they were surprised but delighted. With the addition of raised beds and a pergola the garden now has many different levels, adding to the visual interest. The small seating area within the sunken garden gives a sense of enclosure and once the surrounding plants have grown in the beds and on the pergola, they will ensure a good amount of privacy. A larger patio area next to the house provides space for dining. At the time of taking these photographs only a small part of the planting had been carried out. As these mature and more are added over time, the harsh lines of the hard landscaping will become blurred and visitors to the garden should feel enclosed by plants rather than fence and walls.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Photo of a water feature

L-shaped Rear Garden - plenty of planting space

In this project the client loves gardening and was not scared of plenty of planting space. However space also had to be left for the usual garden toys associated with young children. The budget would not allow the original patio to be removed (this was done at a later stage) and still provided a useful space for the children to play. Shade was needed over the patio along with more height in other areas of the garden. A child friendly water feature was also requested as was extra seating space in this L-shaped plot.

The garden has been separated into three smaller, individual areas linked by paths. These spaces actually make the garden seem larger. Overhead beams, planted with Hedera helix (ivy), give height over a path and large beams over the patio are planted with Humulus lupulus aureas (Golden hop). This grows from ground level each year, providing shade from July onwards but allows the sun to warm the patio earlier in the year. There are small seating areas outside the patio doors and beneath a shady tree. The water feature is made from a frost-resistant terracotta pot surrounded with various size pebbles.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Photo of the finished lawn and plants

Newly completed front garden

The brief was to design a front garden that was individual and practical and would provide year round interest. The main design idea came from the recurrence of ‘three’ in the house itself – each side of the newly constructed porch has three windows. This was reflected by splitting the main lawn into three using block pavers and creating a central rose/perennial bed. The planting of three specimen grasses in front of the main windows and three standard roses in the central bed also accentuate this theme. A screened area to the side of the property hides wheelie bins and straight paths provide easy access to all areas. Once mature, Euonymus and Escallonia hedges will provide a touch of formality with the remaining planting being softer and more relaxed.

A few months after completion this garden received an award in the Bedford Garden of the Year competition.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Photo of the finished lawn and plants

Squares and Rectangles

The client required a more interesting garden with a seating area at the rear and wished to change much of the original shrub planting. A mature apple tree was used as a site for feeding birds but this caused problems with seed growing in the grass underneath. One of their main requests was for the lawn to be removed from under the tree and easy access around the garden. The shape of the lawn had wandered over the years as plants had grown larger and this needed to be brought under control.

The decision to use straight lines in this garden came about purely because the design worked well in this space. The existing patio was to be kept along with a mature apple tree and the use of squares and rectangles linked the two together well.

With tall conifers in a neighbour’s garden along one boundary, a pergola was introduced within the client’s garden on the opposite side to give visual height balance and provide the opportunity to grow a selection of climbers. The path under the pergola leads to a raised seating area which will be surrounded by planting. The shape of the lawn has now been formalised and edged with pavers to make mowing much easier. The lawn was carefully removed from under the tree and infilled with small pebbles over membrane. This area is reflected nearer the house with a separate pebble-filled bed for specimen planting.

A planting plan giving details of main shrubs was provided along with suggestions for suitable perennials etc however the client is a keen gardener and wanted to make some of the planting decisions herself.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design  

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Photo of a patio table

Patio and utility area

The brief was to remove an old concrete path and hard standing area and replace with a new patio and path. An unused area next to the garage was to be turned into a utility area for a new shed and a place to keep wheelie bins etc. Steps were to be avoided as the client is elderly.

Paving was chosen for colour and size to blend in with the existing hard landscaping at the rear of the bungalow. Slabs coming off the original paving continued along the rear of the garage and around into the utility area. A slope was provided leading to the shed base which should provide easy access to the new shed when it arrives. To help keep costs down existing paving from underneath the original shed was used for the new shed base.

In the winter the client often spends time in the outbuilding at the rear of the garage and so it was decided to keep the fencing slightly shorter, to allow light in and the client to see out.

To bring more informality to the patio and path area random paving was chosen. The path no longer ended in the hedge but instead turned to lead to the summerhouse. As a keen gardener the client will be carrying out their own planting but it has been recommended that a focal plant or ornament be placed at the end of the path to accentuate the change in direction.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Photo of a garden

Nearly Finished

This is a rear garden of a small end of terrace modern house and although the couple did not foresee themselves staying forever they wanted to improve the garden for their own enjoyment and as a help to selling the property in the future.

The brief included keeping the existing patio, surrounding wall and roof with better access from the rear gate and a new seating area to catch the sun. A planting plan was provided for the client to plant as and when budget allowed. To keep costs down, materials such as gravel infill in the path were used while the small pergola gives added height and interest to the garden.

The pictures below were taken just after main construction was completed but before the lawn had been shaped and any planting had taken place.

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden before design Photo of garden before design

Click a photo for an enlarged view

Photo of a garden

Views and Vegetables

The brief for this garden was to substantially reduce the planting areas while still keeping plenty of plant interest. The client wished to retain the view to the adjoining field and wanted an attractive area for vegetables that could also be seen from the house. The shape of the lawn was to be simple to ease the chore of mowing and a new patio was to be laid.

The design for this garden fell into place quite quickly. As the borders had been so large in the first place it certainly was not difficult to reduce the planting area. More space was given over to planting near the house and in sunny spots, with straight edges now making mowing much easier. The rear boundary had become a place to store unwanted items but now it is the location of a very smart vegetable area. The original patio slabs were cleaned up and reused around the raised beds. Although there is no physical boundary between the ornamental garden and vegetable area, the addition of an arch and overhead beams helps to denote the change of use. Two climbing roses will eventually soften the arch but otherwise the beams will be kept free of planting so as not to create too much shade for the vegetables. From the house, the eye is drawn through the arch and out to the field and sky beyond.

The client was so pleased with her garden that two weeks after planting it was open to the public for the village Garden Open Day!

Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design
Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design Photo of garden after design

Click a photo for an enlarged view