Paved Steps of Informal Coastal Garden
Category: Driveways, Patio, Paving & Walls
Garden Design Project: DWSFGD001
The Paved Steps of this garden design demonstrates how even the steepest of gardens can be designed to accommodate the practical whilst creating a place of beauty. The design drawings were hand-drawn on drawing board with technical drawing instruments.
The site for this project is a 400m2 plot, close to the shore in Pittenweem - home of the Fife fishing fleet, and the internationally renowned Pittenweem Arts Festival. The south-facing garden is situated at the rear of the property and slopes steeply down to the end of the garden, where it narrows from 15 metres width to about 3 metres.
The property to which the garden belongs was being converted from a chapel to a residence whose occupants would include wheelchair users.
The brief therefore required that a substantial portion of the garden be accessible from the property by wheelchair, and that there would be satisfactory views of parts of the garden that were not wheelchair accessible.
The main features of this are the use of natural and reclaimed materials, an 'organic' informal feel, a sense of the garden 'belonging' in its setting, lots of hidden corners and points of interest, and lush, dense planting.
The paved steps were laid upon concrete blocks, which was also used for the retaining wall.
The lane was not wide enough for large delivery vehicles so all materials had to be brought to the site in small quantities and 'handballed' down the steps and into the garden.
This included over 100m2 of Indian Sandstone, 20 tonnes of local walling stone, 1500 concrete blocks, 20 tonnes of hardcore and 15 tonnes of sand.
Because of the difficult access it was important to minimise the amount of materials to be removed from the site.
The design therefore included a grassy hill which was the repository for all the spoil generated during the project.
This is wheelchair accessible and has plenty of space for sitting out and has great views of the garden and beyond to the sea.
The terrace was created by building a substantial stone-faced retaining wall. This incorporates a curving set of stone steps providing access to the rest of the garden.
Other parts of the garden are linked by a curving, stepped path with timber risers and turfed treads. Other features of the garden are a small grassy area with birch trees and oak block seats, a circular paved area for a table and chairs, a shady woodland area created by willow hurdles screening, and at the very foot of the garden an elliptical paved area for further seating.
The areas of Indian Sandstone paving are broken up by small areas of reclaimed brick paving.
Reclaimed stone setts have been used as edgings for the paved areas.
Planting is a mixture of trees, perennials and shrubs with a strong colour theme.
Reds and oranges dominate along the eastern boundary of the garden, which glow in the evening sunlight.
On a level plot, a garden following this plan would be completely ineffective, but viewed from above the features fit perfectly into the sloped site, providing a garden with lots of movement and interest, while feeling perfectly at home in a in this old fishing village, surrounded by old stone buildings and close to the sea.
Submitted By: Jos Finer BA Dip PSGD (Distinction)