The original garden was flat, laid to lawn and was in the shape of a letter 'L'. It was north-facing and was 10m in length and 8m at the widest point. Luckily it was a walled garden, so it did benefit from a warmer microclimate that would allow more exotic planting.
The brief was to take advantage of the microclimate to provide a Mediterranean flavour to the planting with a high impact effect. There needed to be space to entertain, running water and a BBQ. No storage was needed, as the tools could be kept in the adjoining garage.
The design centred around the wonderful gnarled olive tree that was several hundred years old. It was positioned so that as you walked out of the back door, the visitor would be 'wowed' by its impact and would then walk around to see what was hiding further down the garden. A retaining slate wall was constructed around it, allowing people to sit and take refuge under the canopy in the warm, summer months.
The focal point at the end of the garden (slate monolith fountain), drew the eye, thus creating the effect of additional space within the small garden. In the bottom part of the “L”, a patio was laid to take the 8 seater polished granite table, allowing space to entertain. This area was partitioned with a slim bed to create the effect of another room, thus suggesting more space than there was.
The planting scheme was exuberant, architectural, on the exotic side and yet tough enough to survive the UK winters, courtesy of its micro-climate. Notable specimens were Chamaerops humilis, Ficus cCarica 'Brown Turkey', Trachycarpus fFortunei, Calistemon citrinus, Feijoa sellowiana and Nerium oleander, to name but a few. The underplanting of the olive tree every year was truly exotic, with house plants used as a bedding scheme - it was a little expensive when compared to standard bedding, but it truly complimented the display!