05 May 12 Of My Favourite Landscaped Gardens
In no particular order, these are some of my favourite landscaped gardens, some are open for you to visit, some are strictly private private gardens that I’ve been privileged to help build.
- Beth Chatto Gardens Near Colchester
- Private Garden With An Amazing Outdoor Kitchen
- Gooderstone Water Gardens In Norfolk
- Anglesey Abbey Gardens, Cambridge
- Small But Colourful Private Back Garden In Colchester
- East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens, Norfolk
- Private Garden With Remains Of A Roman Wall
- Fullers Mill Garden, Suffolk
- Olympic Park Gardens In London
- Wildlife Pond Private Garden In Tiptree
- Outstandingly Designed Urban Back Garden
- My Own Front Garden
Beth Chatto Gardens
I’m lucky enough to live within a short drive of Beth Chatto’s Gardens just outside of Colchester and it’s somewhere I love to visit at any time of year. There’s always something interesting to see. As a landscaper in Essex, we often work with ‘difficult’ soils. Clay soil is notoriously tricky. It’s sticky in winter time and dusty in summer time.
Beth Chatto, mastered the art of finding the right plants for the right place and I often look to her garden for inspiration. You may spot elements of Beth in some of the landscaped gardens that the Holland Landscapes team has built.
This back garden was inspired by Beth Chatto’s gravel garden
Private Garden With Outdoor Kitchen
I’m incredibly proud of this garden and can’t thank its owners enough for inviting Holland Landscapes to build and develop it.
Yes, there were challenges along the way. Including working out how to manoeuvre a very heavy pizza oven from the delivery van to the top of the worktop. And, once again, improving the sticky clay soil so that our client’s plants could thrive.
Every moment spent working on this particular landscaped garden was worth it though. It really is a showstopper.
Gooderstone Water Gardens In Norfolk
This has to be one of the loveliest reclaimed gardens I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. It’s not easy to find, but once you get there you never want to leave. Hard to believe that this was once a poorly drained cow meadow behind a carrot processing factory.
Today it is a peaceful haven with a natural trout stream and wildlife trail where it’s not unusual to spot kingfishers. The gardens boast wide grass paths with colourful borders. Lots of carefully positioned seats where a person can just ‘be’, 13 bridges and four ponds.
Unusually for gardens like this, dogs are welcomed. There’s also an affordable cafe which is decorated with stunning photographs of local wildlife. Discover more on the Gooderstone Water Gardens website.
Anglesey Abbey Gardens, Cambridge
Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust Property with all of the facilities we’ve all come to expect from the NT. A good sized cafe, compelling gift shop, decent toilets and, to be fair, it’s wheelchair friendly too.
The landscaped gardens are enormous and have lots of differently styled spaces. From the formal rose garden, which smells divine in summer, to the newly created lunar garden, where you can lay back and gaze at the sky.
If you time your visit for late summer or autumn time, you’ll be treated to a magnificent display of dahlias.
Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the woodland walks and to wander down to the lode mill, which, I believe, still works.
Colourful Private Back Garden
The thing about landscaped gardens is that they don’t need to be enormous (or open to the public) to be beautiful. This is a back garden that was designed by Tapestry Design Studios and built by the Holland Landscapes team. The layout and the planting plan make it feel larger than it is. And somehow, even though there are neighbours all around, the garden feels wonderfully private.
East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens
The roads between Colchester and North Norfolk are characterful, and when I visited East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens with Katie and Doug, the two hour drive had put us in a really good mood.
The large garden has been divided into several smaller garden ‘rooms’, each one with a unique style. In each case, we could imagine how the design could be adapted for a ‘normal’ sized garden.
My favourite feature was the boundary hedge. It had been shaped to frame the view of Happisburgh lighthouse at one end of the garden, and of the village church at the other end. What a genius way of making the most of the extended landscape!
The Topiary Garden at East Ruston Old Vicarage
Private Garden With Remains Of A Roman Wall
This garden, designed by Karen Chamberlain was a delight to build. Such innovative use of materials and a lovely layout.
Best of all, it won a Gold Medal at the 2019 APL Awards – something that we’re very proud of.
Fullers Mill Garden, Suffolk
Water in a garden holds a special appeal for me and Fullers Mill Garden is no exception. It was bequeathed to the Perennial Charity when the previous owner could no longer look after it. And today, the garden helps to raise funds to help professional landscapers and gardeners who have fallen upon hard times.
I love the feel and the friendliness of the garden, the way it embraces nature, and the superb home-made cakes.
Olympic Park Gardens, Stratford, London
These gardens are of course relatively new, but they provide some very necessary relief from the hustle and bustle of a busy city. There’s plenty to do here no matter what your age or fitness levels are. Coffee shops, amazing planting schemes, play areas, sturdy paths, waterside walks, trees and amazingly for the centre of London, birdsong.
Because I’m in the trade, I can really appreciate the thought and the amount of work that went into creating these landscaped gardens. And I take my hat off to the designers, project managers and skilled tradespeople, that not only brought the gardens to life, but continue to maintain them to a very high standard.
Wildlife Pond In Private Garden, Tiptree
I love this garden, not just for the views and the way it melds into the wider landscape, but because it gave me the opportunity to build a floating deck.
All landscaped gardens have an element of engineering within their design and construction. Here, the challenge was to build a decking support that could be cantilevered over the pond and still feel strong. I’m very happy with the results.
Outstandingly Designed Urban Back Garden
Yes, it is possible to build exciting landscaped gardens within the confines of a very ordinary home on an ordinary housing estate.
I have to congratulate Katie from Tapestry Design Studios for the design of this back garden. And I also applaud our clients for being brave enough to think outside of the box and have something better than the standard ‘lawn and borders’ configuration.
Artificial grass is very much like Marmite. Some people hate the very idea of it. Me? I think we should all of us be allowed to decide what goes into our gardens without being judged by people who know nothing about the homeowners’ decision making process.
In this case, we’ve used a good quality artificial grass, and installed it properly so that it has an expected lifespan of 25 years or more. In this garden, a natural lawn would need returfing every two years, a process which is not exactly carbon-neutral.
The area around this patio has sinced been planted up by the clients. They’ve done a fantastic job of getting as many plants as possible into their garden.
My Own Front Garden
My own front garden – still very much a work in progress, but I’m proud of what I’ve acheived so far
I recently moved house and once the place had been made more family friendly (heating, wiring, decorating etc), I turned my attention to the front garden.
On first sight, it appeared to be a straightforward parking space, lawn, shrubs kind of arrangement. But even after a good feed and some rain, the lawn never greened up. A quick dig in the soil soon revealed why ……. Like many other homes in the UK, the garden consisted of a thin layer of poor quality topsoil on top of a layer of builder’s rubble.
I toiled for many an hour in this garden and filled two skips with the debris buried under my front lawn. Then, finally, I could add plants.
My front garden in summer is now a mass of flowers alive with the activity of bees and butterflies. It’s like no other front garden on the estate and I’m very proud of it. In fact it’s probably my favourite of all the landscaped gardens I’ve mentioned in this article.