Monday, 22 August 2016

Eco Garden Design Project revisited Worsley, Salford, Lancashire, Manchester



The Art of Garden.

Garden viewed from inside dining table


















The Brief

It’s a truly wonderful thing to revisit a garden that you have designed and created within its first year to find it brim-full of colour, texture and most of all wildlife. The fundamental design principles behind this project, and the design brief set by my client, was for a low maintenance space, not however within the rigid disciplines of a traditional context. But more outward looking and European in its aesthetic. It was also a requirement that the designs for the garden display a strong architectural context, as well provide a haven for insect life that could coexist in harmony with humans. That’s quite a lot to expect from what is after all little more than a postage stamp size garden. 


Bug wall, green walls sculpture panels and Cor-ten pots.




Western red cedar was used to form the sculptural background frames for the Cor-ten Steel pots




























 The Concept

A big part of my vision in setting out to design this garden was to truly create a connection between the inside and outside spaces, but as a garden distinct from a living room, the aim of which, to create a sense of being immersed in the garden even when seated inside. In setting out to achieve this I deliberately set out not to follow the fashion of extending the inside out, but instead, a separate space of nature that, although had a connection to the inside, its flow is complimentary, rather than continuous. In so doing, whilst the 2 spaces coexist and connect, they offer a very distinct set of moods and consequentially, emotional responses. The end result when you are seated inside the house and looking upon the garden it acts as a calming backdrop and picture, as distinct to when you sit in the garden, you are immersed and escape the connection, and its confines, of what we call house, home and room. In this way the garden becomes a distinct, but complimentary, separate space.


Stone cushions designed and made by St├ęphanie Marin, Nice, France





 View from the back of the garden to seating area outside bi fold house doors






The Visit

On this my first summers visit to the garden in year one, I was delighted to find plants dripping with colour and insects busy collecting nectar. A plant of particular note here, as it’s the first time I have used it, is a new hybrid Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'  a lower growing and more compact variety than the standard Verbena bonariensis, which can tend to get overly large and scraggly in a small space. Combined with Salvia purpurascens and Echinacea 'White Swan', I also used another somewhat newbie Echinacea hybrid, 'Kim’s Knee High', again, another lower growing and more compact variety of Echinacea, and with an almost metallic sheen to the petals this one is a real star. Contrast that with the soft lime green foliage, pale pinkie white flowers of Origanum vulgare, mixed with creeping lemon thymes, it all combines to create cool lower colours and the perfect foil for the stronger colours of top layer planting. Centered to all this is planted the compact Lavendula munstead, completing this haven of colour and scent. The effect of this style of planting is to create layers of colour and contrast from the ground up to just over 60cm.  Just about the right height for this size space as it provides a good picture without overwhelming the senses of the viewer. 
Planting to the cobbled areas is more muted with silver grey and bronzes to provide a framework for the central zone and includes such gems as Eryngium 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost',contrasted with the bronze panicles of Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster' which picks up the tones of the Cor-ten pots, cobble and boulders. Whilst   the striking and verdantly erect panicles and flower stems of Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', now green with flowering stems of soft buff, will extend to the rest of the plant as the seasons move and change, continuing the evolving sense of drama and contrasts in the garden.




A bumble bee busy collecting from the rich nectar store.


Even dragon flies have turned up in the garden to feed on nectar rich plants










The humble white butterfly joins the hunt for nectar.













Log store viewed through the bronze   panicles of  Carex buchananii 'Red Rooster'


Small raised planters at the back of the cedar panel allow hidden space for growing some salad leaves.


Design notes

Garden pots supplied by The Pot Co More info on pots (trade only supply) click this link

Custom made Livingstone cushions designed and manufactured in Nice, France, by St├ęphanie Marin. More info on cushions click this link 

Furniture a bespoke order from the Skyline range made in Belgium. If you are interested in purchasing garden furniture from this range please contact DK Garden Design for prices.

Large boulders sourced from a derelict Japanese garden in Knutsford, the story of which you can find at this link. 

Intermediary feature stones a small quarry I found in North Wales the location of which is a trade secret. 

Base cobble is Scottish river cobble sourced from any number of suppliers found online. All other elements bespoke built by my landscape team.

Content subject to Copyright; David Keegan Garden Design 2016 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Landscape garden design commission, Turton Road, Bolton, North West UK.


Landscape Design Project Bolton, Lancashire.



Topographic survey Turton Road garden design project.



Another really exciting project for DK garden design, this involves a commission to design both front garden and rear garden areas for a currently being renovated and modernised house. Sitting on its own large plot of land.




The clients brief for this project to create a set of dynamic designs for the various areas of the house and large den area to the back garden.  The requirement to match and compliment the modern interiors and create a connection between internal and external spaces. The designs for this project are now well progressed, with preliminary designs approved the project is now rapidly moving into final designs In preparation for landscaping works  which are expected to begin September 2016 with planting then carried out Autumn Winter 2016. Watch this space as this should be a very exciting and contemporary landscape once completed with stunning focal points across outdoor fireplace and cut through water features.




























The rear garden areas as first viewed. Designs are in the final stages for this project with landscape works expected to begin September October 2016 and planting late Autumn winter 2016.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Garden Design project Chorlton Cum Hardy, Manchester, UK

The challenges faced by a garden designer





Topographic survey Chorlton Cum Hardy Garden Design Project.


Sometimes a project comes along that just grabs your attention due to the challenge it presents. This garden design project in Chorlton falls well and truly into that category. Whilst the property looks like a pretty normal house from the front, what if conceal at the rear aspect is a drop in level of some 4 meters, from top house level to bottom garden level. The challenge posed to me as a garden designer, to come up with a set of designs that not only provides usable space at the house level, but also a transition from the house level to garden level that also makes good use of the banking slope in a safe, child friendly and interesting way. 


 Pictures of the house and garden as first viewed. 





The clients brief however, is that the gardens should not have a contemporary feel, but rather in some way work on the same aesthetic principles I employed when designing the Enchanted Forest, part of a previous project of mine in Oldham. No easy task and therefore a worthy challenge. The biggest issues with this garden design project will be structural, as it will most likely involve pretty substantial steel frames, in order to support a large top level platform. Leading down from this top level I intend on designing in a number of features into the sub frame cladding to soften and blend what will end up being quite a bit of timber work. This will be achieved through a combination of green walls, inset bug boxes, wood store and a garden shed and covered area complete with a green sedum roof. 




One of the positives of the elevated position of this site, once the platforms are in place the views from the house level is pretty much into the tree canopy of surrounding areas. 


Friday, 19 August 2016

Ryecroft House, Lancashire, North West UK



A garden design challenge with a difference.






Topographic survey Ryecroft House, Lancashire


Steeped in the history of the industrial revolution and originally built in the mid-1800s for the owner of a nearby steelworks, this project perfectly examples the connection between a house and it grounds. Ryecroft House had lain derelict for many years until its recent purchase by my clients. It is an imposing Victorian Gothic wonder, which in its original configuration must have presented quite an imposing sight, sitting atop a hill on its own plateau as it does, with commanding views to the surrounding countryside landscape on 3 sides. 




Unfortunately the house has suffered some pretty awful intrusion into its architectural fabric in the intervening years and in the process ruing a lot of what would have been its most striking detail. The good news, with time, patience and investment my clients are intent on restoring this grand house, as sympathetically as is feasible, to its original state. Historical information on the house and its architecture was pretty limited, but for DK Garden Design this stirred our keen interest in research and spurred us into an investigation that not only threw up some fascinating information on the original landscape and grounds, but also its somewhat macabre history when we discovered one owner of the house had been murder in his bed in the early 1900s by the gardener and an accomplice. Further to that some of the remaining architectural detail would inform how I approached certain elements of the designs for the grounds, with these incorporated into newly designed elements of the landscape designs for the project, and in the process helping to restore some of the cohesion and context between house and grounds. We envisage this project taking a couple of years to completion.




First visit to Ryecroft house was on a freezing cold day, but with a clear blue sky in April 2016.




Some of the original architectural details that littered parts of the grounds. This ended up being incorporated into my final designs for the gardens.





















Part of the original wrought iron ware remains on this small side balcony and again provided me with details this i used to inform my designs for the gardens.

Landscape designs for this project are now in their final stages and we expect work on the landscaping to begin in the spring of 2017.