Case Study

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We were contacted by architects Pearce Bottomley, to design a garden for a new build house as part of the planning application. The garden was a paddock when I first viewed it, a blank canvas with heavy clay soil

Preparing the ground
Preparing the ground

Our brief was to create a wildlife friendly garden, including native species of trees and wildflowers, an outdoor living space for our clients to compliment the architecture and bespoke materials of the house.

Our clients are enthusiastic gardeners, they wanted to potter about in their garden without being faced with lots of maintenance, to grow vegetables and fruit, to cook and dine outdoors and above all hoped for lots of colour in the borders and beautiful trees.

Concept planting plan
Concept and planting plan

Starting with a concept plan, we designed a living space next to the house framed with a heavy oak pergola for privacy, cloaked in fragrant climbers and roses. Insert photo of pergola 


A patio adjacent to the house is wrapped around by a gravel garden, planted with perennials, grasses, creeping thyme and aromatic herbs for easy picking for the kitchen and BBQ.

Creating Gravel Garden
Creating gravel garden

The gravel garden attracts wild birds, in particular gold finches and sparrows feasting on the verbena seedheads in winter- lovely to watch from the house. The planting froths around informal pathways to glass house and garage.

Finished Gravel Garden
Finished Gravel Garden

Screening from the neighbour is in the form of pleached cotoneaster trees (great for bees and birds) and multistem ornamental birch trees (for winter interest) with pine and cotoneaster trees to obliterate views from upstairs windows.

Tree Planting
Tree planting

Brightly coloured perennials flower in succession amongst swathes of grasses and cover the borders around the patio in a rich tapestry of pollinator friendly flowers, bringing butterflies and bumblebees right up to the house.

Colourful border planting
Colourful border planting

We incorporated a small water feature within the gravel garden, positioned to enjoy from inside the house and pergola.

Water Feature
Water feature

We found space for fruit trees in the small padlock area with fan trained fruit along the west facing wall of the house as well as fragrant climbing roses and espalier trained pyracantha (great for bumblebees and birds) with colourful clematis scrambling through. 

The planners were happy with our proposal and the ecologist was delighted with the diverse plant species, specimen trees and native hedging as well as the features for wildlife, such as bat boxes, bird boxes, bee logs, log piles, differing mowing heights of grass, wildflowers and perennial meadow. 

The perennial meadow with 170 species per m2, is a-buzz with pollinators. It’s a joy to walk through the winding grass paths and hear them all at work in the thousands of flowers.

Perennial meadow
Perennial meadow

The garden is designed for maintenance with wildlife in mind. Borders left standing for winter interest with attractive grasses and seedheads for birds. This dense cover is perfect habitat for amphibians, reptiles and smaller voles and hedgehogs.

Laying turf
Laying turf

Trees of special wildlife value include the ornamental willows, native alder, cotoneaster and pine, as well as the crab apples and fruit trees. 

Perennial meadow in flower
Perennial meadow in flower

 Borders are densely planted with beautiful, pollinator friendly perennials, something in flower all year. 

Garden wall
Garden wall

Hard materials are local York stone for the patio,Yorkshire Wolds handmade bricks for the garden walls, topsoil from a local site, green oak from nearby timber merchants. 

Plants are from UK growers
Plants are from UK growers. 

Soil conditioner is recycled green waste and equine stable waste, and the thick, weed supressing bark mulch on the borders means less watering, fantastic plant establishment and together with the soil conditioner, improved soil biodiversity which is also a CO2 sink. 

The bark mulch is perfect habitat for toads hibernating during winter. 

Our clients report an increase in biodiversity, including pollinators, wild birds, reptiles, amphibians, hedgehogs, with bats in the evening. We like to think we have exceeded their expectations. Wildlife feels welcome here. 

They have a beautiful, vibrant living space to enjoy looking after at leisure in their retirement.


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