Friday, 18 December 2015

Dry River Cobble and Dwarf Pine Garden by David Keegan Garden Design

The Dry River Pine Garden


A garden design project in Greenfield, Oldham, UK




Many regular visitors to my blog may remember this project from updates this summer and the first blog post when it was completed a little over a year and a half ago. Whilst the dry river cobble garden that replaced the small front lawn area and the newly created fern garden to the side entrance-way and path to rear gardens is a success these two spaces always felt somehow disconnected as the slope to the driveway creating a discord between the spaces. This view was also shared by my client and following discussions at the end of this summer it was agreed that the way forward would lie in extending the dry river cobble garden to continue down the slope and around the fabulous silver birch tree. The biggest problem, how to create a successful barrier to the front side wall slope and therefore prevent the cobble rolling down and onto the driveway. The solution to get David the artisan blacksmith/sculpture, who had created the fence and gate separating the fern garden from the rear garden areas, to create a complimentary low level edging. In conversation with the client Lou we both agreed this should mirror the fern motif to the existing fence and should also meander gently up the slope in an informal fashion. With the project now complete I look forward to next summer with great anticipation as the plants settle in leaf up and flower. In the meantime filled with a mixture of dwarf pines, pieris, sarcococca and fuchsia year round interest is maintained. To the front over the edging rail I planted Vinca minor f. alba 'Gertrude Jekyll’. We all now agree that the front garden scheme finally feels like a unified and balanced space.
Next year’s plan for the bottom slope to the roadside is to increase the density of various heather's, which although starting to fill the space need a bit more impact.


Hope you enjoy viewing as much as I have creating it J

The sloped area of the garden in question prior to commencement of the project.

Whilst a number of the plants were dug up and put to one side for reuse some others that didn't quite fit the new scheme were reused in the rear garden areas.

Sloped area as viewed from front roadside prior to commencement


David begins the instillation of the new edging

As can be seen from this picture all the plants have been removed prior to commencement of works and i also dug the ground over at least a month prior to this day as it was quite compacted. This allowed rainwater to penetrate the soil making it much easier to work when planting. Particularly useful when planting through a membrane.

Scottish river cobble delivered in preparation for the creating of dry river bed

I ordered the cobble in 25 Kilo sacks rather than bulk bags as they are much easier to work with on a tricky site.



A variety of dwarf Pines and other plants ready for planting


This picture demonstrates just how quickly the weather turns in the Peaks.

The rain got so heavy on this particular day that planting had to be abandoned. Given how much rain we have had his year i had to wait quite some time to catch another dry day in order to complete planting and laying of the stones. Although a lot of work can be done even when  there is  a lot of rain it is never a good idea to plant when the ground is too wet as it can do more harm than good.


Bags of river cobble set along the perimeter of the space in preparation for laying.

Finally a somewhat brighter day day arrived and i was able to complete the planting and the stone laying.

A little pile of magic. Feature stones piled waiting to be installed.

I use a little quarry in the far reaches of the Welsh countryside to source my feature stone. I usually take a day and a van and head off to the quarry to hand pick each piece that i want for a project. It is a wondrous thing to scan a high mound of cobble looking for just the right ones.


View from the existing dry river bed area and terrace down to the newly extended section of the garden

This picture doesn't quite do the garden justice as the light was very dull and the sky dark so had taken with flash. 


The finished dry river bed Pine garden



Old meets new, contrasts between the newly installed cobble and the existing cobble.

Whilst the freshly installed cobble brightly shouts in contrast to the aged existing cobble garden area they will soon weather to match.


View from the roadside of the newly installed metal edging.


The galvanized steel edging will soon weather to a tone matching the previously installed fence and gate to the rear garden areas.





Click this link to view the previous posts on this project.



I sincerely hope you enjoy the pictures and please feel free to comment or ask questions.
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