Hampshire Life - - Inside -

Mod­ern de­signs in Headley

An ex­cit­ing gar­den around a con­tem­po­rary home awaits the visi­tor to Old Camps in Headley, where the past and

fu­ture are both care­fully con­sid­ered says Leigh Clapp

Adam and Heidi Vetere could see enor­mous po­ten­tial when they bought the one-acre prop­erty in 2007. At­tracted by panoramic views of Water­ship Down from the south-fac­ing slope and in­trigued that the house was built on the site of a Ro­man camp and bath house, they were ex­cited by the prospect; al­though there was a great deal to be done, and on a tight bud­get.

“The house wasn’t easy on the eye, but was a great foot­print to de­sign from, which al­lowed us to de­velop an atrium! The de­sign of the gar­den evolved from the de­sign of the new house, though I did de­sign new cot­tage beds in homage to the orig­i­nal house. It was im­por­tant to keep a link with the past as well as look­ing into the fu­ture,” Adam ex­plains.

The ex­ist­ing gar­den con­sisted of a ba­sic knot gar­den, a veg­etable gar­den, a few cot­tage

beds and the ma­jor­ity was laid to lawn, as well as a horn­beam hedge that sep­a­rated the up­per and lower gar­dens that were partly ter­raced. Adam who orig­i­nally worked as a land­scape de­signer and con­trac­tor be­fore go­ing into fi­nan­cial de­sign has now re­turned to his pas­sion for de­sign­ing gar­dens with the jour­ney in his own gar­den al­low­ing him to ex­per­i­ment and ex­press his in­ter­est in a broad range of styles and con­cepts.

“My de­sign in­spi­ra­tion comes from my trav­els to the four cor­ners of the world, vis­it­ing gar­dens and the nat­u­ral habi­tat in vary­ing cli­mates from desert to trop­i­cal, as­sim­i­lat­ing gar­den de­sign ideas, the­o­ries and vari­a­tions on new planting schemes that can be used in fu­ture de­signs,” he adds.

This was Adam’s first large scale site to work on and one of the ini­tial tasks was to get to know the mi­cro-cli­mates in each area of the plot. Work­ing from a plan he ini­tially drew up, the gar­den has evolved into ar­eas that are linked to­gether to form a co­he­sive whole, but with plenty of unexpected and ex­cit­ing ideas and planting to en­joy.

“I like to de­sign gar­dens that chal­lenge what is nat­u­rally

ac­cepted in this coun­try,” he smiles. Vis­i­tors will dis­cover tra­di­tional herba­ceous borders, Mediter­ranean and desert beds, prairie planting bil­low­ing with drifts of echi­nacea, rud­beckia and or­na­men­tal grasses, an ex­u­ber­ant ex­otic border of can­nas and bananas, pot­ted lemons in a shel­tered al fresco din­ing area, as well as a dec­o­ra­tive potager with com­pan­ion planting schemes.

Redesign­ing with ex­ist­ing plants both kept a re­minder of what was there and in turn, helped the cou­ple to stay on bud­get. An over­grown lilac was pruned to ex­pose the beauty of the twisted and gnarled trunk, and to let the light in un­der­neath. Ad­di­tional hedg­ing was linked to form backdrops and to cre­ate a more pro­tected site, a wall was added to the veg­etable gar­den. The de­sign com­ple­ments the strong lines of the house as well as vi­gnettes be­ing con­sid­ered from look­ing down over the gar­den from the bal­cony or with glimpses to draw you through the land­scape as you wan­der.

“For me it’s all about in­ter­est lead­ing through the gar­den onto some­thing else; a voy­age through the gar­den,” Adam adds.

The gar­den is not all viewed at once, rather open­ings through plant­ings or gates en­tice you on to see what is there. Ma­tur­ing and boun­ti­ful planting abounds, in­spi­ra­tion is in abun­dance, and un­der­ly­ing it all are Adam’s ideas for sus­tain­able prac­tices to limit the im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment. It is no won­der that the gar­den was read­ily ac­cepted by the National Gar­dens Scheme; and this is their sec­ond year of open­ing.

“I en­joy see­ing peo­ple smile and the looks on their faces as they walk through the gar­den. It brings a tear to my eye when I see peo­ple en­joy­ing the space. Gar­dens needs to be good for the soul and mind in to­day’s fast paced life. A gar­den re­ally suc­ceeds if it clears the mind and trans­ports you to an­other place, where your mind can flow and un­wind. It should be a real tonic, al­low­ing you to recharge your bat­ter­ies ready for the next chal­lenge!”

ABOVE: The mod­ern home sits on the site of a Ro­man camp and bath house

ABOVE RIGHT: Colour­ful planting in vin­tage con­tain­ersRIGHT: It is a lovely jour­ney through the spa­ces

The gar­den is a peace­ful haven for Heidi and Adam

Com­pan­ion planting with marigolds

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