Client Brief for Raised Garden

When the client moved into their home five years ago, the house had been completely renovated by the previous owner but the garden had been almost totally overlooked. The current owners improved the look of the front garden by installing a low wall encompassing a ‘spoon’ shaped area creating a border facing southwest. The poor quality soil was compacted clay with a great deal of building rubble. It had some established evergreen shrubs with the boundary made up of various hedging plants set into a stone wall. The border also incorporated a broken, poorly constructed water feature, and a damaged rear access path.

Following my consultation with the owners we established that the border should transformed into an attractive, purple-themed haven for pollinators, using a variety of plants to soften the hard wall landscaping. In addition, the clients wanted a new, more modern water feature set amongst the planting.






 Garden Designer in Essex and Suffolk




Solution – A bespoke planting plan

To address the soil problem the landscapers dug several tons of compost and topsoil into the border. This improved its drainage and provided a better base for the planting. At this point I prepared drawings for the reservoir for the water feature, surrounded by a steel collar with a slope matching the slope of the border.

To provide year-round flowers I planted the border with Narcissi, Alliums and Euphorbia for spring colour, which links and slightly overlaps with the summer flowering Salvia nemorosa, Nepeta ‘Kit Kat’, and Verbena rigida, providing a long succession of colour through the summer into the autumn. I added an element of height by installing a multi-stemmed silver birch. I then softened the border with Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau' and Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'. These two grasses also provide an ethereal presence through the winter.

Due to the unusual shape of the border, it presented an area very heavily weighted around the entrance to the garden, which then trailed off towards a parking area. To combat this imbalance the narrow part of the border needed height and visual impact to both ends of the border. I achieved this by adding a heavyweight oak pergola to the narrow end, which arches over a walkway entrance. I adorned this pergola with a beautiful climbing rose and repeated key plants throughout this area, delivering unity to the whole border.

The end result provided a veritable haven for pollinators and garden lovers alike, with a beautiful and varying array of purple blooms of flowers from early spring through to late autumn.