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My blog hopefully gives you an idea of the types of work I am involved with at the moment and things that inspire me.

By katepaterson, Jun 20 2014 11:54AM

Last year we created a garden right on the sea front in Hoylake, Wirral. I knew I had my work cut out for me when I went to survey the garden. It was impossible to stand up in the wind let alone measure. I had no understanding of the strength of the sea winds up until that point. I knew I had to find some pretty tough coastal plants to stand up to the winds, blown in sand and salt spray. The client also wanted seating areas but I realised I had to suggest the most naturally sheltered places in the garden for this and let the site determine the design and not the other way round. We created seating areas within the woodland area towards the back of the garden, a sheltered terrace around the back of the house, a seating area within a stone 'fort' on the sea front and the final area was by the sea front in a place where they naturally went to enjoy the views because it was so sheltered.

Coastal garden before
Coastal garden before

Coastal garden after
Coastal garden after


Coastal seating area
Coastal seating area

With the planting I spent hours and hours investigating plants that could stand up to the extreme coastal elements. I used tough shrubs in the more exposed areas to build up natural windbreaks and then planted grasses and coastal loving perennials. I made the decision to plant small plants rather than large. Everything seemed to be doing fine until the terrible storms hit earlier this year. Apparently the waves were breaking against the house windows - the old sea wall that had been there since the house was built was literally broken up like match sticks and I had very little hope for the plants.


The aftermath.... We went back there a few months to build a beautiful new sea wall out of stone. We had lost some plants namely: Erigerons, Choisya, and some Lavenders. However, most plants are really thriving now in particular the Knautia macedonia, Sea Holly, Sea thrift (self seeding everywhere), Stipa 'Pony Tails', Miscanthus 'Gracillimus", Agapanthus, Rosemary, Hemerocallis 'Stafford', Liriope muscari, Hydrangea 'Blue Wave', Rosa rugosa (various), Geranium "Rozanne", Perovskias and Euphobia characais subsp. 'Wulfenii'. Other plants in the woodland area such as ferns, Bergenias and Rhododendron 'Anah Krusch' whilst not going berserk - are coping well considering the tough conditions.







By katepaterson, Jun 9 2014 10:55AM

Ivy screens are a fantastic product to disguise unsightly fencing, add more privacy and add another layer of security to your garden. I have used them both on a small scale and a large scale on several projects over the years and every client I have supplied them to has been amazed by the instant impact they make. The best part is that they can grow in the most inhospitable places with very little maintenance and within a year it more or less looks like a wall covered in ivy. In fact, days after planting, you see the leaves turn to the sun and within a few weeks they fill out and just blend in with the landscape.

One of the projects I have supplied these screens to was a large house that had a public footpath running along its entrance. Through the trees you could see straight into the large grounds and the effect on privacy was a big issue. Thin woodland bordered the garden but you could still see through. It was also densely shaded, dry most of the time but then prone to flooding occasionally in the winter. The client wanted instant height. We had used instant Holly hedging elsewhere but here I was concerned that Holly wouldn't work and grow sparse in the dense shade. We used the ivy screens and the instant privacy it gave and they way it just blended in was amazing. We set up some leakypipe to help it establish and that was all it took.

Instant Impact with ivy screens
Instant Impact with ivy screens
Ivy screen
Ivy screen
Ivy screens installed
Ivy screens installed

On a smaller scale we have used them to screen fences again the transformation is impressive.


Before
Before

By katepaterson, May 31 2014 02:56PM

Several years ago it seemed that clients were happy to use a portable bbq to bring out of the garage in the summer months - but recently in the last two years I have found more and more of my clients requesting a purpose built area including built in bbqs, pizza ovens and grills. Three of our projects at the moment include some form of built in outdoor cooking facility. I think Jamie Oliver has helped to generate interests in Pizza ovens with his TV series but in addition to this I am being asked for Santa Maria bbqs popular in the United States.

One particular project I am working on at the moment is very interesting. The clients have a beautiful historic house which is bordered on one side with the most amazing natural sandstone rockface. There is an area to the back which is eight foot higher than the rest of the garden. At the moment the area is pretty useless and we have suggested creating a outdoor entertaining space here as it is close the the house and looks out across the garden. At first we suggested digging down a few feet and building a free standing pizza oven to the back of the circular area. It was to have an oak framed structure over the top. Here is a very rough sketch of the idea we had.

With further discussions the design then developed a little more. The client was concerned that they may overlook the neighbouring property so we decided to lower the area to increase the privacy. They also decided against the oak framed structure. At this stage the Pizza Oven was going to be built into the retaining wall structure inspired from a picture of an old Greek oven I had seen.


By katepaterson, May 28 2014 08:03PM

Beautful blue iris
Beautful blue iris
Matt Keightley stunning garden
Matt Keightley stunning garden

I was lucky enough to visit the Chelsea Flower Show last week. We try to go every other year and I am so glad we went this year. Whilst I fully admire the experienced Chelsea Garden Designers like Cleve West and Luciano Guibbelei (who have long been my heros), the gardens of Hugo Bugg and Matt Keightley were so accomplished and had a real sense of atmosphere to them - they were breathtaking. I also loved the 'No Mans Land' garden by Charlotte Rowe. The beauty of the irises against the lush planting really stood out - the garden had so much soul to it.

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