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Landscape Design and Build – Orpington, London

Project 17 of 68

Project type: Landscape Design and Build

Location: Orpington, London

Project Commenced: February 2016

Design Brief:

The property stood more or less central to the plot and was surrounded by garden on all sides. The Garden Design Team at Oakleigh Manor had been asked to design the entire space but to treat it in different stages. Stage one of the process was to design the section north east of the plot.

The idea for this garden emerged from a collaboration of thoughts and ideas from our team and the client.  After the initial site meeting a series of discussions took place on which direction to take and how best to execute the brief. The client wanted the designer to take the existing traditional style garden and create a slightly more contemporary garden through the use of contemporary forms and straight lines. Some existing features had to be retained and incorporated into the design.

From the beginning, it was paramount to create a space that had a contemporary feel, a good balance between hard and soft materials, a sense of hide and reveal but most importantly the garden must have a feeling of unity throughout.

An informal layout was used in the design for stage one of the gardens. Rather than using a formal symmetrical pattern, the informal layout of pathways and paved areas created a series of motive and non-motive spaces. This enabled the visitor to be led through the garden from one space to another with a relaxed feeling, instead of being rushed from one section to another. A series of open spaces provided a great opportunity for socialising with friends and smaller spaces for quiet morning breakfast. A sunken paved area was introduced surrounded by small Fagus (Beech) hedging designed for late evening entertainment.

The close attention to focal points was another important consideration, which helped to bring unity to the design but also visual drama and scale. As you entered the garden, via the steps, immediately to your left was a long pathway running from the nearest end of the garden to the far end of the garden. This pathway was flanked on both sides by Prunus trees almost to the halfway mark and to the far end was a simple bench with a clipped Taxus (Yew) hedge behind. The bench highlighted a great focal point and along with the long run of paving, added great scale to the garden. A timber structure with a timber platform underneath was situated to the rear of the garden. This created a sheltered seating area in the garden but also acted as a great frame. From the dining room window, the more natural rear of the garden is framed by the structure and is incorporated visually into the design.

The creation of new timber platforms helped to incorporate an old traditional style pond into the design, along with the introduction of a raised oak water feature, bench and table. Sawn sandstone contemporary paving was used to unifying the entire design in a simple way throughout the whole garden. Marking each junction point were small square setts, which allowed your subconscious to recognise it has entered a new space.

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And here we are with stage one already complete. The clients have enjoyed their first summer in the garden and when we went back to visit they told us of the many wonderful summer evenings entertaining friends and how the garden allows them to sit and enjoy out side living at all times.


Throughout the design and build process of this garden the clients have been wonderful to work with (not to talk of all the lovely coffees they have made us). We are now in the process of the final stages of the design for the rest of the garden and once again look forward to working with the clients to achieve their dreams.

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