When we originally moved into this newly-built house in October 2002 the garden was a sea of mud, and the original terrace was being constructed over the footings of a large stone retaining wall at the bottom of the garden. Gleesons, the housing contractors, smoothed the mud, laid turf a couple of weeks later and then left.
For the first few months we thus simply had this tiny terrace with small concrete steps and a metal railing, above a lawn that flooded in wet weather because it was laid on compacted clay with no topsoil.
The Design process
We started the design process with Chris Parsons in January 2004, much preliminary time being spent in discussion about the type of garden we wanted, its function in our lives, who would use it, how keen we were on gardening, how long we were willing to wait for it to mature etc.
Important to us were that there should be no grass, no decking, lots of greenery and an 'interesting' design, making use of the terrace and looking good from each of our three floor levels. Choosing paving materials, designing the lighting scheme and deciding the planting scheme (all part of Chris' design) also took time.
Chris' initial concept, utilising the wedge shape of the plot to give a radial pattern, proved a good one and was developed into the final garden.
Work began in late February 2005, the contractor worked to a high standard. Because the design was complex with many details (extending the terrace on one side, building the new steps, installing cable ducting, cutting stone slabs to shape, laying different types of paving, erection of pergola and railings, importing topsoil) it took several weeks, with completion in April 2005.
We are keen gardeners, and it's a small garden, so we did the main planting ourselves, to Chris' planting plan, in May. The final stage of putting down the resin bonded gravel did not take place until June 2005, the speciality contractor being delayed by their work on the path around the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park......so now we have many years of 'growing' enjoyment to come.
Written by clients Michael & Pauline Miller on 20 July 2005 for the occasion of a garden visit by the Friends of the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield (see pic)