Cottage Garden in the Chilterns

The owner of this charming cottage in the Chiltern hills in Buckinghamshire wanted to make major changes to her garden. Previously it was mainly laid to lawn with a shed and a greenhouse dominating the view down the garden. Instead, she asked Charlotte Rowe to design a garden which she could enjoy, use and nurture but without an inordinately high level of maintenance. She did not want a lawn to look after but as it is a country garden in a tiny village, equally, she did not want it to be too urban and out of keeping with the surrounding landscape. The design solution was to keep the main terrace area close to the house and create two other sitting areas linked by a path through large blocks of planting.

The sunny main terrace close to the house is surrounded by raised beds, planted with Mediterranean plants such as Santolina, lavender and rosemary. From the terrace a short flight of steps leads to a bridge over a small water feature and down through the garden. The path of sandstone with knapped flint, to echo the local vernacular, leads through beds of grasses and perennials to a small gravel area on one side which captures the morning sun and down to the evening terrace. Behind the evening terrace is a trellis with cordon-trained pear and apple trees to screen the garage beyond.

The existing trees were not in great condition and have been replaced by a multi-stemmed Prunus serrula close to the house whose lovely red bark provides interest all year, a quince tree and two crab apples. Structure is achieved with a laurel hedge and pyramids of Prunus lusitanica and Buxus globes and a range of shrubs. Perennials, grasses and bulbs mainly in deep purple, white and pink provide seasonal interest.