A landscape designer’s unusual brief has resulted in a dream garden for three generations.
Creating a garden for a house that had not yet been built proved a successful challenge for this designer
Usually a landscape designer is engaged to create a garden around an existing house. But in this case, the brief was to design on a blank area of land. The clients – a professional working couple, their two children and the wife’s parents – were having an iconic three-storey Huf Haus built on an empty plot in Kent, and designer Nic Howard was chosen for his ability to combine contemporary solutions with soft, cottage-style planting. ‘Being engaged before the house was even built was certainly something different, especially as the owners had quite a wish list of requirements,’ recalls Nic. The extended family were keen to create a sense of seclusion with an environment for entertaining and play areas for the children, as well as space for the older generation to indulge their passion for gardening. Not least, a range of other elements also had to be included, from a swimming pool and seating areas to a home office and a greenhouse. ‘It was quite a tough brief to get a lot of items into a small space and get it all to hang together without being confusing,’ Nic says. ‘We worked on very detailed plans showing exactly where the house and so on would be constructed so we could landscape in the correct places.’ The first step was to put in retaining walls to create levels. ‘The hole for the house had been dug for the basement, which was like a concrete shell,’ Nic says. ‘We were able to shape the garden from there, creating a flat area that was then decked in sustainable hardwood and paved with limestone to be accessed directly from the older generation’s apartment, while an upper level was designed to be viewed from the first floor.’ Gravel expanses, steps and paths for access were incorporated into the garden’s plan, leaving space for the pool and other elements to eventually be added, while structural trees were planted down the central axis to break up the impact of such an imposing build. The groundwork took around three months, then the Huf Haus went up within a week, followed by the pool, a gazebo, home office and greenhouse. Once the strong linear bones of the garden
The garden’s rectilinear design, softened by planting, works beautifully against the striking architecture of the distinctive Huf Haus.
The imposing feature wall, painted a stunning shade of deep pink with a central moon gate, is mirrored in the turquoise pool, doubling the visual impact.