Contemporary garden in Essex

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The client lived in a new build property with a garden that had never been landscaped. They both travelled a lot and so therefore it was critical that the garden was low maintenance. They had recently had a conservatory built, so there was a broad vista on to the garden. Having spent much time in the far east, they had a preference for eastern influences. They were expecting a baby so this was a factor to take into consideration.

As the large house windows and conservatory gave such an unfettered view of the garden, this design sought to create an aesthetically pleasing solution to an odd-shaped space, providing plenty to see while allowing the client ample opportunity for dining and entertaining.

A series of decking patios, laid with attractive and durable Balau hardwood boards, were linked by decked walkways to create seating areas in different parts of the garden, giving versatility to the space and enabling the client to make maximum use of the sunshine throughout the day and seasons. The board direction was alternated to add interest to the design, while a series of rectangular ‘cut-outs’ filled with decorative glass mulch add to the contemporary, ‘designed’ feel of the space.

A large decked patio in the top left corner of the garden serves as the main dining/entertaining area. An open pergola structure, constructed from Balau posts and beams to match the decking, give this area a semi-enclosed feel, with removable coloured perspex screens helping to create a sense of privacy without impeding the view to the rest of the garden.

Extra interest was created with the inclusion of a stunning stainless steel water feature, with an acrylic central panel across which the water flow echoing the perspex screens in the pergola structure. Placed just outside the front of the conservatory so that it is easily viewed from both inside and out, this feature created an arresting talking-point on any occasion.

Planting in the space is simple and low-maintenance. Tall and willowy bamboo masks the back fence and shed, with architectural phormium and flowing grasses giving a uniform, contemporary feel to the rest of the soft landscaping. The existing cordyline was re-located to the back left-hand corner.

The garden was completed with a lighting scheme selected to maximise the architectural elements of the design. Subtle lighting within each of the glass-filled decking cut-outs created a ‘runway’ effect to guide one through the space, while stainless steel spotlights on each of the four corner posts of the pergola provides ample lighting for dining and entertaining. The water feature is up-lit by two stainless steel spotlights, to throw a gently undulating light across the space. Finally, a series of low-voltage spots placed throughout the planting beds give the garden a gentle wash of light while serving to highlight individual specimen plants.

“Matt and Katrina listened to our requirements for an Asian style garden which was easy to maintain and looked particularly beautiful from our new conservatory. The gardeners were unobtrusive and polite and always listened to our concerns as the work progressed. This was particularly appreciated since we had just had a new baby when the work began!

We are delighted with our new garden and thanks to all at Earth Designs who were involved.”

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