Now I can begin with a fairly blank sheet to plan a garden layout. It is northeast facing and the house deprives it from any sun after about 3pm in mid summer. Ironically my front garden is now larger than the rear, but is on a busy road. So the purpose of the rear garden was to provide a private area to sit and enjoy the morning / midday sun. Somewhere to eat. Somewhere to have friends to visit.
The section slopes uphill away from the house. It’s not terribly steep but uncomfortable to place a chair on. I considered creating a flat area by building a deck. But on balance thought that this would feel too separate being on a higher level from both the house and the lawn. Human nature is lazy, and steps would psychologically put it at a greater distance.
In the end, I concluded that excavating an area for seating was the only way to go, but wanted to position it close to the southern boundary in order to get maximum daylight, and hopefully a view or two of the hills in the distance. As soon as I started digging, it became apparent that rather than making the garden feel smaller by dividing it into flat and sloped areas, it actually felt bigger. The eye could rest on a usable space outside and what once seemed an expanse of goaty slope, suddenly held the promise of outdoor eating and reading. I couldn’t stop digging, so thought it best to firm up a plan on paper.
As the garden is wider than it is deep, I’ve turned the point of view through 90 degrees, so that when you’re seated outside, your focus is long the length facing north. Because the layout won’t be symmetrical due to the retained wild cherry and apple trees, I’ve tried to avoid planting with symmetry, but for the focal point I’ve selected three columnar wild cherries, which will give the eye something to rest on.
The whole garden will be enclosed by the same Hornbeam hedge as the front, which in time should give it a cosy, enveloped feel. Although I do hope for a little “borrowed landscape” from the surrounding properties’ trees.
The lawn will either be a no-mow chamomile. Or something from the No-Mow company. Maybe Selliera. It will be planted into a fresh 100mm thick layer of new topsoil.
I’m gathering other plants from week to week in anticipation. Most recently I purchased some English Ivy. The cashier asked “Who buys Ivy???”. She had been plagued by a neighbour’s plant strangling her tree from under the fence. My plan for the Ivy is to retain the clay bank that has been cut and provide an evergreen ground cover. It is intended to keep this in check with prudent pruning, top and bottom, on a regular basis.