Project Name: Merton Hall
Client: Rutrecht & Kimberley
Location: Merton, Norfolk
In collaboration with:
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Merton Hall is a beautiful Grade II listed property sitting within the 942-acre Merton estate in the small village of Merton near Thetford in Norfolk. The original Merton Hall dates back to 1613, but a fire in the mid-1950s destroyed all but the current building, which was originally the north-west wing of the larger house and built by architect Edward Blore in 1846.
The majestic property forms the centrepiece of a working estate that includes many other listed buildings, some dating back to the early 17th century. Renovation works to the main house incorporated a new Orangery and terrace area and creative landscape designers Rutrecht & Kimberley were appointed to inspire coordinated outdoor spaces totalling 25 acres that aligned with the historical and architectural beauty of the surroundings.
Balancing ambition and scale with the importance of creating the vision for future evolution, the garden design provided defined areas that complimented each other and met the brief of creating space to socialise and opportunities to enjoy walks around the grounds with the introduction of seating and vista points.
The garden design incorporates all hard and soft landscaping, with the introduction of species including Woodland Sage, Astrantia ‘Claret’ and Iris sibirica ‘White Swirl’ blended with varieties of roses to showcase a colour palette featuring hues of blue, pink, white, and lemon.
The part-walled garden forms the backdrop to the main house and estate office, with the planting plans bringing structure and affording clear views of the entire space.
Wide perennial beds are a prominent feature of the elegant landscaping that borders defined walkways and allow the full gardens to be enjoyed.
The area surrounding the new Orangery is a focal point of the outdoor space, with a patio area for dining and a parterre with clean lines surrounding lawned areas and flower beds brought to life with bold colours from cut flower varieties and lavender.
An important element of the overall design uses feature trees to bring height to the beds within the garden. Evenly spaced Carpinus betulus (hornbeam) box heads create scale and structure to formal beds surrounding lawned areas.
Elsewhere, common beech (Fagus sylvatica) trees have been introduced to deliver autumnal beauty with displays of dark grey bark and russet brown leaves. The copper beech variant is also a feature, with deep purple-bronze foliage as a dramatic alternative.
Taxus baccata evergreens nestle among perennial beds to link with the woodland areas of the wider estate and enhance the beautiful vistas available throughout the gardens.
The design of the gardens surrounding Merton Hall succeeds in maintaining the relationship with the 19th-century character of the main residence by sensitively introducing bold architectural planting that allows visitors to enjoy visual sensations at every turn and walkways that invite them to explore the wonders that lie beyond.
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