Priory Garden

This large garden of around 1 ½ acres surrounds a 17th-century priory had developed without any design or master plan. It had a large lawn, planting beds with mainly shrubs and annuals, terraces off the house and next to the tennis court and swimming pool. As with many well-loved gardens, the planting beds were a little tired and did not do justice to the beautiful mature trees around the site, including two ancient mulberry trees and a very old yew tree. Charlotte Rowe Garden Design was commissioned to develop a master plan to incorporate some of the mature planting.

The client was ready for a change to fit in with their changing lifestyle and tastes. In particular, they wanted a much larger terrace off the kitchen with more space for seating and dining. We doubled the size of the terrace and created a raised bed of dressed limestone around its perimeter filled with sun-loving plants including lavender and Santolina. Two large L-shaped stone seats were built to fit snugly against the raised beds and a large French oak pergola frames the view to the stream, while on the other side the view is framed by four umbrella-topped plane trees.

The planting was completely re-designed with mass planting of perennials and grasses, using coordinated colours and foliage among the existing shrubs. There is Mediterranean planting on the main terrace and around the pool; marginal planting along the edge of the stream to soften it and make it more natural looking. The lawn was re-shaped to give it a slightly more formal appearance; in particular under two mature willows, the lawn was replaced by shade-tolerant planting including hostas and ground cover to give a more coordinated mat of green under the trees.