There are clients who know what they like when they see it and clients who have a vision from the outset. Working with Debbie and Richard from A Corner of Eden has been the ideal mix: Debbie’s creativity is obvious with every element of these luxury self-catering properties but she wanted to bounce garden ideas around with Liz and renovate the Shepherd’s Cottage garden together; Richard was happy to contribute manpower to meet a tight schedule between visitors.
The resulting walled garden is easy to maintain, makes the most of the Westmorland Dales views and extends the living space for guests. The established beech tree needed to be incorporated into the design and building raised beds around it worked well. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Fraise’, Pulmonaria ‘Cotton Cool’ and Polemonium ‘Heaven Scent’ make the most of the tree’s shade in that corner.
New paving and retaining walls recycled existing materials and combined them with new slabs that worked well with existing walls. That re-use of materials on site is environmentally sound and also contributes to the established feel of a new garden. The new paving used here was Twilight Monsoon from Dalston Aggregates in Carlisle.
An outdoor bath is a striking feature that’s proving very popular. The opportunity arose from a problem when the cottage bathroom was renovated. “The roll top cast iron bath was custom painted in Farrow and Ball’s Rectory Red,” explains Debbie, “and took some moving upstairs. Once fitted, we realised it wasn’t draining properly. The supplier was really good and immediately offered us a replacement. That left us with a spare red bath that we couldn’t bear to waste. Now guests at Shepherd’s Cottage can enjoy matching indoor and outdoor baths and relax under the stars if they like.”
Choosing planting for all seasons to echo the colour theme is very much part of the design process.
This garden will be in use throughout the year and all the challenges of structure, height, colour and easy maintenance contributed to the choice of plants for the beds and planters. There are strong red themes from Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ and Leucothoe axillaris ‘Curly Red’ to echo the colour on the bath as well as Primula and dwarf Narcissi for seasonal interest.
The resulting garden looks simple, includes a few surprises and will be a place to relax for years to come.
Shepherd’s Cottage at A Corner of Eden is online at: