The main façade of the manor was a fearful mess. Remnants of the old barn had a magnificent old ivy growing over them. We saved the ivy and built the new walls to support it thus redeeming one of the finest natural features at the manor.
Tired old Victorian trees were removed and the scale of the new garden trees is more intimate and in keeping with the humble scale of the buildings.
What is now the peacock garden was once a cow yard long since grassed over. The walls were repaired and an informal and colourful garden breaks the symmetry of the other large walled garden.
A rather nasty bank of laurel was removed and replaced with a tall stone wall, thus creating the granary walk. This is the spine of the gardens and a re-establishment of the old roadway through Guiting.
Progress being made in the main walled garden creating the central terrace for the long water. The long water and flanking pleached hornbeams focus the eye on the 17c dovecots.
The original poor condition of the historic walls is clearly visible, as is the lack of garden and unfocussed views. In the new garden the views are carefully controlled so that the countryside becomes a slow reveal. Water brings the reflective quality of light in as a focus.
The 1960’s front with weeping beech had compromised views. Our bastion front with levelled lawn enhances the new castellated house by Ptolemy Dean.
The dilapidated 17c dovecot sat forlornly surrounded by lumpy grass, two buried horses and a nasty stable block. We tightened the area up with vast yew hedges, a beautiful new lawn and great lumps of topiary to link the various outbuildings.
Here it is possible to see the extent of the unpleasant 1960’s house completely masking the original half-timbered residence, and with no good garden. The new gardens anchor the new house front, sat on our bastion, and reveal the pretty cottage remnant.
Acres of tarmac have been stripped out and replaced with our new walled garden and loggia. The Dovecot roof peeps over the heavy pleached limes.
The early cottage is revealed via the new architecture and softened by the addition of a small brick terrace with comfortable planting.
The renovated cart shed becomes the backdrop to beautiful billowing rose gardens cascading down the hill and tying the eye into the surrounding mature woodland.
The house is marooned in a slightly odd suburban setting. We roughed it up by reverting a lot of space to native planting and reducing lawn by about 95%.
The hard landscaping dominated visually without adding much to the general beauty. Smothering every building in locally appropriate plant species has helped a great deal.
In the end I had to take out a big set of steps as they were without function or beauty. The resulting bank of dog roses and oxeye daisies is more peaceful.
The lawns have been divided, a simple cutting garden of four beds installed, and the yew hedge cut into a serpentine.
The original scheme paid no heed to the surrounding natural landscape of mature sweet chestnut coppice. The new gardens try and soften the relationship and draw the two together.
Again this sauna building has been smothered in planting and melded into the surroundings. The addition of a wooded outdoor bath tucked in aromatic bushes is a nice touch.