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Project Name: Hertfordshire Garden

Client: McWilliam Studio
Location: Berkhamsted, Herts

In collaboration with:

McWilliam Studio

Visit the McWilliam Studio website

Designed in the picturesque and charming arts and crafts style synonymous with renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, this former rectory features a substantial multi-layered garden with views over the Ashridge Estate to the east and the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside to the west.

Commissioned by the property owner to design a new family garden, award-winning landscape architects and long-standing client McWilliam Studios created a beautifully relaxed and comfortable garden that retains its connections to the arts and crafts character of the house whilst introducing contemporary elements with defined spaces for entertaining, relaxing, and playing.

The new design is based on the concept of ‘hide and seek’ as a nod to the sense of compartmentalisation common in gardens designed using arts and crafts principles. The various levels in the landscape are rationalised and simplified to bring greater structure and reveal new and interesting vistas across the site.

Pleached boxed hornbeam are spaced to give structure to the layered elements of the garden

The main planting theme uses perennials and grasses to create abundant colour and texture throughout the year. Malus Winter Gold run north to south through the garden to provide a visual connection between different terraces and give year-round appeal with dark green leaves that become yellow in Autumn and white flowers that explode from early pink buds.

Tall grass species such as Rudbeckia Laciniata, known as ‘autumn sun’, are planted alongside perennials in the borders around the main lawn and ferns bring additional texture to the wild planted banks on the parking court’s southern perimeter. There is also a small kitchen garden rich with varieties of herbs which can be easily accessed from the main dining terrace.

Various species feature at varying levels where the house and garden connect and bring clarity to the main functional elements of the site whilst maximising the use of space. The property sits within an area of outstanding natural beauty and the design seeks to recognise local geological materials and link the garden with the stunning views that surround it.

Pleached hedging aligns with screen dry stone walls to provide clean lines across the revised levels and greater privacy from neighbouring properties.

Some borders are subject to a restrictive covenant and required planting to be kept below 1 metre. These feature cubed Taxus baccata evergreen trees that bring structure and compliment the blend of different grass species in the immediate area.

The pergola walk commands the highest point of the garden and features a hazel coppice underplanted and interplanted with a variety of evergreen perennials and grass species. A collection of hydrangeas planted along the walk provide an additional burst of colour.

The transformation of the gardens surrounding this impressive family home has opened previously overgrown and unstructured spaces to create distinct areas for different activities and connected them with sensitivity to provide improved access to all their wonders.

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