From what was for many years an uninteresting stable yard, flooding at times and just being a place to park the horse box, this Spring has seen a bit of a transformation here in leafy Cheshire.
Whilst visiting RHS Tatton Show in the July of 2014, my clients purchased a contemporary piece of sculpture by Ian Gill – a piece of galvanized forged steel called ‘Dragon’s Eye’. Then, not knowing where to position this piece once they arrived back home, my clients decided to develop the old stable yard transforming it into a new courtyard garden.
I received my clients’ brief back in August 2014 with a request that the garden be built and completed by May 2015. The agreed designs were signed off in December and the courtyard garden was scheduled to be built the following March.
RHS Tatton Show Award winning landscaping contractors Platinum Gardens and Driveways set about clearing all the old tarmac, lifting and storing tons of duckstones and setts, some of which were to be reused within the new garden and installing quite a large, new drainage system all before the construction of the new garden could commence.
The courtyard sloped by 600mm from top to bottom. I therefore designed the courtyard to incorporate three ‘rooms’, each one at a different level to the next. Working with the galvanised forged steel sculpture in mind, I decided that the first garden also had to include this same element in another form hence the galvanised steel gabion seats and the entrance archway. Four corner bench seats enclose this section of the garden and beneath the hardwood iroko seat tops the gabions were filled with some of the reclaimed duckstones.
The middle garden features a central living sculpture by way of an evergreen, cloud pruned Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’ tree and in ground planting to the four corners. Stepping down again into the third area, a renovated water pump and stone trough is the central feature of this garden. We found this cast iron water pump in a very sorry state during the initial site clearance and it was decided to have it sandblasted and repainted and to see if we could use it with running water – everything went smoothly and the sound of burbling water falling into the trough now drifts across the courtyard.
My clients became totally involved with the develoment of this courtyard, thoroughly enjoying finding lots of pieces from around the rest of their nine acres of gardens and which they presented to us on a regular basis throughout the build. These included numerous original stone troughs, staddlestone, birdbath and planters cartwheel and seats.
The construction of the new courtyard garden was completed on schedule at the beginning of May which just left me to source, set out and plant up the prepared borders.
THE FINISHED GARDEN
I would like to thank Chris Bestall of Platinum Gardens and Driveways for building this garden. Platinum Gardens are an award winning company who received an RHS Silver Gilt Medal for a garden they built in 2012 at RHS Tatton Park Show, Cheshire. Chris and his team build most of my garden designs.