The owners of these grade 2 listed buildings wanted a garden that showed off the buildings but added colour and light, particularly in the winter. They requested a low-maintenance, wildlife-friendly garden suitable for children and dogs.
The courtyard had a bold symmetry which we incorporated into the design with simple, regular features. We used reclaimed slate and timber to give the garden a mellow, aged appearance. Modern materials would have looked garish and raw against the old, weathered buildings.
We opted for relaxed cottage garden planting within a framework of more formal box plants. Lavender, knautia and creeping thyme were magnets for bees and butterflies, with viburnum and euonymus providing additional winter interest. We allowed ivy to grow on one of the trellises to provide nesting shelter for wagtails in the spring, and cotoneaster for flowers, berries and autumn colour.
By the first summer, the plants had established well and through the year the courtyard was heady with the scent of jasmine, honeysuckle and wisteria.
After 5 years the plants are fully mature, maintenance is minimal and the courtyard hums with bees and butterflies basking in the heat reflected from the old stone walls. The rowan tree in the centre is laden with berries in the autumn and the beds turn purple every August as the lavender fills the air with scent.
The garden is beautiful throughout the year, whatever the weather!