A Practical and Playful Garden

The challenge

Our clients, based in the village of Quorn in Leicestershire, asked us if we could design a garden that was more practical to use (and maintain) as well as making it child-friendly.

They wanted to be able to sit outside on a low maintenance patio and watch their children playing in a safe environment. With limited time to spend on gardening chores, ideally, they wanted something that looked good but didn’t need much upkeep.

The concept

To create a more usable lawn area that’s flatter and easier to maintain, we built up the level of the garden. This also helped us with the installation of the children’s play area, which we constructed using play bark covering a geotextile membrane to produce a soft, safe surface for young children.

For the patio, we laid grey multi sandstone paving inset with a large circular feature to form a stylish seating area. Using pennant grey setts, we built new winding pathways to connect all sections of the garden and to create the perfect surface for the children to ride their bicycles on.

Pressure treated trellis screening and a small sleeper retaining wall were built up across the back of the garden to form a flowerbed and hide the existing concrete wall. This bed is lined with a damp proof membrane and backfilled with top soil to protect the sleepers from water sitting against the timbers.

Top soil followed by Elliotts medallion turf were used to form the contoured lawn – now cut into a new shape. Next, we introduced a low maintenance planting scheme to bring scent, colour and all year-round interest to the garden.

We devised a lighting scheme to subtly illuminate the whole outdoor space. This included a wall light on the fence by the children’s play area, three bollard lights along the pathway and three spike lights to light up the back-trellis screen and illuminate the top patio.

To fill in the back sections of the garden, we erected feather edge fencing, installed using concrete posts and gravel boards. This fencing runs along both sides of the garden between the back fence and the hedges.

On a practical note, a new larch lap panel was installed with a concrete gravel board by the side of the house to replace an existing broken panel. We also constructed a new shed base of approximately 12ft x 10ft as requested. All paving was laid onto full mortar beds and grouted with an eco-fill grouting compound to help prevent weeds growing up through the joints.

The conclusion

The original garden was rather dull for the children, and there was little to entice them outside. Now, they can’t wait to go outdoors with their bikes and play in their specially designed area.

As for our clients, they’re happy relaxing on the patio watching all the activity – knowing that they don’t have to do any work to keep their new garden in great shape.

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