Sloping Garden Design
A steeply sloping garden design in Sandhurst, Berkshire
Creating useable flat areas
This steeply sloping garden in Sandhurst, Berkshire shows how a garden with a steep slope can be transformed into a beautiful, accessible garden with the right vision, a decent budget and some good planning. The main challenge was creating the flat spaces without disturbing the roots of the the mature trees.
The garden design explained
The clients asked for the garden to be made safe, low maintenance, with plenty of places for entertaining and relaxing in privacy. They wanted a the garden design to include curves and a ramp for the mower. The steps down from the upper terrace had already been constructed when the conservatory was built. The garden is heavily shaded by neighbouring trees and the aim was to create as many seating areas as possible that were in the sun at various times of the day. They asked for a shed and screening to the rear boundary that did not cut out any more light than was necessary.
Creating the terraces
In order to provide flat spaces for the lawn, seating areas, and planting borders the garden was excavated and retaining walls constructed. Two retaining walls were constructed to support the upper and middle seating areas and the lawn. Further retaining walls provide a flat base for the shed and enclose the planted borders. Steps and a ramp were constructed to connect each level and create a journey around the garden to make it more interesting.
The garden comprises a series of inter-connected levels that follow the slope of the garden so that they do not encroach on neighbours' privacy. There is an upper terrace at the base of the new conservatory wall, a smaller terrace with a timber screen. The lawn is in the middle terrace and can be accessed by either a ramp or steps from the upper terrace. There is a shed at lawn level. A ramp and steps leads down to a lower, mostly planted area. The rear boundary is screened with pleached trees trained on a frame. The planting is a mixture of shade tolerant shrubs and perenials that soften the hard landscaping and provide year-round colour and interest.
The garden design is based on a series of inter-connecting circles that give the garden a dynamic flow and makes the space more interesting. The use of circles also helps to focus the eye inside the garden making the space seem larger by distracting the eye from the boundaries.
There are two seating areas - one at the top of the garden which is the sunniest part and also the most easily accessible. This area is surrounded by shrub planting that flowers and scents at different times of the year. Three is a second, smaller seating area surrounded by a screen of uprights that gives it privacy and a sense of enclosure. This second seating area is more shady and intimate thant the larger upper terrace and perfect for hot days when a cool seating area is needed.
Another key part of the brief was to provide habitats for wildlife and particularly the birds that the clients encourage with feeders. All planting was considered so that it provides sitting and hiding places for wildlife and also fruits for the winter months.
The garden can be navigated in a number of different ways, via steps and ramps. This creates an interesting journey around the space that is safe underfoot at all times of the year. This ensures that the clients can enjoy the whole garden all year round.