An Accessible Garden Emerges From Down Under

The challenge

IMG_0266This was an interesting brief. Our client had recently moved to the UK from Australia. He told us that ‘back home’ the outdoors is used as much as the indoors and he wanted his garden to reflect his homeland.

However, as a wheelchair user, his garden had to be a space where he could be fully mobile. The existing garden was a basic layout of sloped grass with a few evergreen shrubs around the borders. As the house was situated high up an incline, the path that led downwards to a disused utility area presented a dangerous slope for someone in a wheelchair.

The concept

Garden design detailedOur designer set to work and the first thing he came up with was an unusual pool in the shape of a figure eight. We defined and highlighted the contours of the pond with Marshalls pennant edging stones in a subtle shade of grey.

This became the focal point of the garden. The purpose of the pond was to attract wildlife – it was also deep enough to remind our client of home, where swimming pools are commonplace.

We added a scallop-shaped flower bed to one end of the pond to create even more visual interest. Further areas for plants were added in the form of a wooden planter in one corner, along with raised sleeper beds along the sides and back of the garden.

We made the raised beds high enough so our client could easily access them and maintain them from his wheelchair. Smooth paving stones from Marshalls in a soft shade of buff complimented the light wood of the beds and contrasted with the grey edging of the pond. The flat paving also aided wheelchair mobility.

Previously, the bottom of the garden had not been accessible to our client due to the hazardous slope. To overcome this, we built retainers to create a gentle slope down to a newly paved utility area using the same buff coloured paving. The bespoke trellising and fencing we constructed was designed to complement the colour of paving and give the garden a sense of structure and security.

There were two sets of double doors at the rear of the detached red brick property, which had previously led directly onto the grass area. Our team designed and built a functional soft wood decked area and gazebo around these double doors with a simple fence surround.

The garden was now fully accessible. We finished by covering half of the decked area to provide a sheltered spot next to the house, so our client could sit outside and be protected from the inevitable British rain!

The conclusion

IMG_00000200The client and our design team were happy with the transformation of this once inaccessible garden. The team will be returning to complete planting in the autumn of 2014 as time was needed for the garden to settle. We’re all looking forward to completing the final phase of this highly satisfying makeover.

In the meantime, our client is settling into his new British outdoor space that provides him with a few reminders of his previous Australian home.

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