18th Century Farmhouse, Dore - 2013


The garden is L-shaped with a small north-facing area by the front door, and a back garden (25m x 35m) facing east, in part shade and part sun. Hallam Garden Design designed the gardens, including planting design, drew up specifications, put the work out to tender and monitored the build to completion, working with known local award-winning contractors.

To begin with the back garden sloped away to 2 metres lower than the house with the sitting room apparently teetering at the top of the slope. There was a tiny, scruffy sitting area, partly in shade near the house. This was replaced by a better  proportioned York stone terrace at a higher level, bringing it closer to the sitting room and extending further out from the house into the sun with local York stone retaining walls and well proportioned steps; a raised fish pond near the sitting room and pretty perennial borders. This provided a more solid 'base' for the house, effectively anchoring it into the garden.


There was originally a good old apple tree in the middle of a large sloping grassy area, this was retained and made a focal point by the addition of a lovely hardwood tree-seat in a style appropriate for the house. A neatly trimmed old bay tree and a shed in the corner were retained, the lawn shaped around the tree.  

The clients' preferred style is one that suits the house and site:  natural, formal, traditional, cottage garden. The small 'front garden' is shady and provides opportunity for ferns, hostas, grasses and box hedging.  This was the client, Ian's, preferred style of planting. Linda, his wife, likes softer, cottage garden plants in pinks, blues, purples and whites. The back garden is mainly sunny and now has masses of flowering shrubs, perennials and grasses with structural box globes and cones, and yew blocks for winter structure. Thus addressing both clients' requirements as given in the brief.  Ian, already a keen gardener, has now developed a passion for all the new plants.

The clients love their new garden with a passion and it has improved their quality of life.  It attracts wildlife, is colourful, very relaxing as well as being interesting to work in. Ian and Linda have been impressed by the seasonal interest all year round, and Ian is loving his fish. The greatest compliment is paid by friends, who have known the garden for many years; when they visit they say how much better the garden looks but also '…..amazingly, how it looks like it has always been there'.  The old gardener, now retired, will still come and sit quietly contemplating on a sunny day. This is a high compliment indeed. If good design is about appropriateness, and if the best gardens look as though they have not been 'designed' because they sit so well in the site, then no wonder this garden won a BALI award and was finalist for Northern Design Awards 2014.

Hallam Garden Design - client stories