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Broad Oak

A traditional style, but modern, Sussex house of brick and tile with the garden laid out pretty much as the developer had left it. A rather small area of paving at the back of the house was inadequate as a sitting and eating area and was out of scale with the house. 


Create a garden with much more visual interest, particularly when viewed from the house.

Replace the grass bank that led off the terrace which was awkward to mow, and make more of the the change of level within the garden.

Enlarge the terrace to both meet the dining and seating requirements of the owners and to be in better proportions and scale to the size of the house.

Bring colour and planting closer to the house.

Retain privacy from neighbouring properties.

The garden as it was...

A rather small area of paving at the back of the house was inadequate as a sitting and eating area and was out of scale with the house. Bordered by a grass bank, it was an uncomfortable space to use. 
The grass leads up to some mature and semi-mature trees further down the garden. The large areas of grass are rather bland and uninteresting, with nothing to lead the eye around the garden.


We came up with a couple of alternative layouts for the area immediately around the house. The clients preferred the option that included building a retaining wall and wide, generous steps to replace the grass bank. A herb garden and an area for vegetables were to be located immediately beside the enlarged terrace, conveniently close to the kitchen. 
The long border running down the southern boundary and the shorter one on the north side were to be enlarged and re-shaped, being wide enough to allow for layers of planting. New borders down the central spine re-defined the spaces and separated the mown grass areas from the wilder, bulb-rich longer grass underneath the existing trees running down to the south west corner.


A sandstone wall has replaced the grass bank, and this now wraps around the enlarged terrace. A small herb garden is located close to the kitchen and provides an additional seating area, and herbaceous planting at the top of the wall brings long lasting colour and interest close to the house.
Wide steps now lead up through the wall and invite one in to the other parts of the garden. The black limestone paving provided a nice contrast to the mellow sandstone. The lack of visible pointing in the wall highlights the shadows between the stones.
Planting helps to define particular spaces within the garden and provide balance to the areas of lawn as well as colour and interest.


  • Astrantia major 'Large White'
  • Trollius europaeus
  • Papapver orientale 'patty's plum'
  • leucanthemum aglaia
  • allium 'purple sensation'
  • magnolia x loebneri 'leonard messel'