Established in 2002, New Eden is a garden design and build company based in Chelmsford, Essex. The company builds all shapes and sizes of domestic garden but the emphasis is on quality materials and great workmanship, usually led by an in-house design service. The company has a very close-knit team of designers, landscapers and managers working together to deliver as professional and friendly a service as possible to its customers.
Size of project – The garden measured 20m x 20m approx.
Schedule – Approximately 5 weeks during July/August .
Approximate cost – £35,000
The garden is on a new estate, overlooked from the rear and with a neighbour’s swimming pool building close to the boundary on the left hand side. The existing garden had a block-paving patio.
This project is a result of a garden clearance, the installation of a new summerhouse or “den” for the children, and a need to make the garden a low maintenance grown-up space for dining and relaxation. The teenage children no longer required the garden for football and so the parents had their garden back!
Lawn space for occasional sports and play was required but it was no longer the principle use of the garden. The overall garden space was broken up to add interest and depth to the garden.
The principle seating, dining and entertaining area was positioned outside the kitchen. This is a generous size, laid to paving, and includes a pergola structure which gives some much needed shade but also the opportunity for growing scented climbing plants. Overhead lighting fixed to the pergola enables it to be used during summer evenings. A path links the patio to the summerhouse.
Adjacent to the dining area patio, a lower terraced area (outside the living room) offers extra seating opportunity. This acts as a more lounge-like, relaxing space. The right type of furniture is key to setting the scene i.e. more loungers, deep cushioned seating, low coffee table. It could be contained with hedging or trellis to give a more enclosed feel. This area also incorporates a log store for the lounge fireplace.
The garden is rectilinear in layout i.e. simple, straight lines. Materials such as gravel, sleepers, brick details have been used to retain some traditional elements but used in a contemporary style.
The garden is more formal and structured with mostly hard landscaping by the house, more informal with mostly soft landscaping away from the house. Paths, hedging, pergolas and trellis all help with the transition between spaces. A natural pond or water feature was also incorporated.
The main upper dining patio was built using yellow limestone laid in a coursed pattern, with a path that continued to the summerhouse. We created a lower dining area, enclosed and shaded from the sun by pergola and integrated trellis – designed and built from scratch, using Douglas fir. This also provided screening from the houses to the rear of the property. The paving here is sawn and sandblasted sandstone to give a more luxurious feel compared to the more rugged limestone and these two materials were separated by a threshold of small Marshalls Tegula cobbles. The Tegula cobbles continued as an edge detail to the sandstone where they wrapped around the corner and carried on as the side path material. We also used them beneath the log store.
Planting combined mostly shrubs and evergreen ground cover. The customers wanted impact and had a few specific requests including an Olive tree (planted by the water feature) and an Acer (planted in the dappled shade of the neighbours trees on the right hand boundary). The rest of the planting was left to us. We kept the shrubs around the lawn as relatively robust plants, to the side of the summerhouse we created a shady, barked woodland walk to the storage shed, using ferns and Fatsias growing through the bark and around the water feature we planted Stipa arundinacea, with Persicaria, Sedum and Bergenia spreading out over the cobbles.
The garden is now very low maintenance but we visit a couple of times a year to shut down the irrigation system and spend time pruning, dead-heading, trimming the box hedge, mulching and feeding.
The only criticism from the customers is that they had to have another small shed installed behind the summerhouse to accommodate the cushions for all their garden furniture!