The following are a series of front and side garden beds that were created around the one house to better enhance its feel, look and appearance…. that sounds like something I just copy and pasted out of some legal firms website I’m sure, but for now I can’t think of any other way to write that intro line.
Back to landscaping …And though the front driveway has also to serve a very functional role, [without cars in the images below some may look quite spacious], it is a fine example of what one can do to make your home front so much more inviting and welcoming.
As small front low maintenance gardens go, especially those in which a car parking spot is a must I have to admit I quite proud of this one. That and the fact that, where functional must meet softened photosynthetic and as this is not a more private space, meant the scope for Peter Donegan memorial gardens here were limited.
Worth considering is that I could not fit the overgrowth pre-garden makeover shot into one image. Suffice to say at some stage in its former life it was a lawn. Also of note is that the client was not ‘green fingered’ and the budget was not a bizillion dollars; don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a case of cheapest is best, more a case of done once and done extremely well.
The overgrowth taken down and removed, a semi permeable membrane was laid upon the grass. It was suggested that that should have been sprayed/ treated first with a herbicide. But of the factors required for the growth of any plant, one of them is light and the elimination of this via the membrane ensured that nature, with a little help, would do its own thing.
Plants chosen very wisely I considered extremes of height in my selection ie. ground level and ground cover planting and those that were instant and immediately above waist height. The thinking behind creates a more open feel; that as versus the herbaceous border type formal tiered backdrop that blocks out the passage of light, if you get me. They were also 75% evergreen and colour throughout all of the seasons.
The pebble is bright in colour, though not bright gold, which just lifts it ever so slightly. Beneath the front window was placed a bench that I made from very heavy duty timbers painted black and a small raised platform beneath. I wanted them, alongside the more mature planting to look like they had been there for some time, though extremely well maintained.
The beauty about this small space, is the maintenance and plant growth per annum ensures the annual cut back, tidy and trim is not a hedge cutters and a skip, but very much more a secateurs clip and a nip.
Aesthetics and fine choice planting aside, personally, I like the fact that this side of the garden has remained free draining. There’s something about that that makes my smile just that little bit greener.
I love the metamorphosis that is taking a space outside, removing it in its entirety and replacing it with something totally different. I like that I can see the end result before it starts and to this day that evolution still makes my heart beat just that little bit softer.
More than that there is something considerably greener and soothing about turning a totally covered in surface to free draining, with a side salad of by far better looking now, that I love about this type of landscaping ~ in this case, from cobble to pebble and planting.
Machine the preferred option in this case, cobble up and away the next step was to ensure that the below ground specifications were to absolute perfection. Of note and quite visible here were the excesses of sand, where it should have been hardcore. This rectified, the base layer was brought in and a whacker plate used to harden.
A retaining plinth of sandstone cobbles were laid to separate the pathways and the start of the driveway and the same batch of stones also used as the base to the front step. Some may query why I chose not to use a brush in type expanding sand here. Answer, the pathway edge was jagged and the yellow would have shown up its unevenness and taken away from what is [in short] a pretty sexy looking stone.
Albeit ever so minor, it should be noted that this type of softer, hard landscaping can and does come with its teething problems. Double underlined, minor. In short, horse powered cars have an ability to make stones move or shift and with a little time these undulating compressed aggregates will settle as they should.
From the aesthetically pleasing department, the planting on the far side is by choice extremes of height and seperated ~ as versus one big clump of a screen. Do bear in mind none existed there before hand, that and it’s also winter. It’s also the first time these phtosynthetic fellows have sat ’round the table’ together, so to speak and planted at the right side of the hibernating season, collectively they’re are gonna look absolutely glorious come the middle of spring sat right in front of their new home.
Personally, I like the little touches. I like the fact that the divide between the neighbouring driveway were wooden hand-made planters, planted with slightly more mature Vinca minor and Escallonia ‘red dreams’. Quite friendly really when you think about it. On the far side, the bed [not done any justice due to my terrible photography skills] is planted with a mix of semi mature: Mahonia, Hammamelis molis and an absolute stunner of an Acer palmatum Sagokaku. Down a level in height but high in colour are a mix of Rudbeckia, Daphne mexereum ‘Rubra’, vinca minor, Astilbe, Coreopsis grand ‘Rising Sun’ and some Heleborus niger.
From an overall complete picture perspective, I like the fact that the varying facets of the rugged sandstone cobbles, the pebble, the planting, the planters and the home in which they are now arranged in front of look like they have been together for some time – just never aged. More than that [?] honestly, what makes this garden really [really, really] great is it’s owners.
I love that I can make gardens more beautiful but that journey by a long shot is so much sweeter when the people you create it for are genuine lovely. And isn’t that nice. It is. Very. 😉
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