Simple ideas from English gardens. First printed in the Weekend Gardener, issue 321 August 25 to September 7 and reprinted here with their permission.
Nobody does statement garden steps quite like the great English architect Edwin Lutyens did. Outward facing semi circles lead you into the steps from both sides with the transition of a full circle in the centre. These examples are from Hestercomb and Great Dixter.
Discreet and informal seating for up to seven people in the outer reaches of the garden at Helmingham Hall. The tree trunk sections are set at the same height and backed by an informal brush barrier which frames the seating area. The view from the seating area is across a recent freeform earth feature towards the Tudor deer park.
The simple device of subtly shaping the cross beams of this pergola at Hestercomb gives a lighter, more graceful effect as well as guiding the eye down the long view.
It is clear that this path is closed in Beth Chatto’s garden and the use of fresh saplings (probably hazel) forms a discreet visual barrier. Traditionally, English gardeners have used stakes and supports in their natural form, harvested from their own property, rather than the common use of imported bamboo, tantalised timber or metal stakes used in New Zealand.
A rustic, low wooden fence built like a gate is an attractive, permanent means of holding back the floppy growth from falling over the narrow paths at Great Dixter.
Using small, square cobbles makes the most of what is otherwise a rather insignificant small stream at Lamorran Garden in Cornwall.
Adding a return to this seat at Great Dixter makes it a generous and attractive feature rather than just another wooden garden seat. It does not, however, increase the seating capacity.