Garden for Young Working Couple

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Garden for Young Working Couple


An attractive yet comfortable, low maintenance outdoor space to be enjoyed by a young hard working couple. A place to relax. A place to entertain.  A place to de-stress after a hard day at work.

Client Brief

This Buckinghamshire based professional couple wanted a visually appealing yet functional garden that would provide a haven of calm after a long day at work. As busy people they wanted a space that would be both easy to use and simple to maintain. With an eye on entertaining, they wanted a large seating area to comfortably provide dining for friends as well as a smaller alternative seating area for relaxing with breakfast, or a newspaper, on those precious Sunday mornings. They were happy to have an element of water but didn’t want the potential maintenance considerations of a pond. They also wanted thought to be given to providing some privacy from the side entrance as this is often used by visitors. In terms of style and composition they were open to anything that would sit happily within the locality.

Garden Design Process


Although not the largest garden it is of a good enough size that the client’s requirements could be accommodated without too much compromise to the rules of good design. Being a fairly square garden the only real challenge was the slight slope that increases in gradient towards the eastern corner of the garden and the awkward angle of the step to the front door in relation to the frequently used side gate.


In the eastern corner there is also an interesting square shaped prominence that required some consideration. I had to decide whether or not this space was large enough to be utilised as a seating area. Given the general scope of the garden and overall scheme I decided that this was best utilised as a planting area giving the option to include a large specimen multi-stem tree.


Another important consideration is always the house and its effect on the style and atmosphere of the garden. The house comprises of a wing of a larger, architecturally fascinating, yet potentially imposing nineteenth century Buckinghamshire building. I therefore deemed it important that the garden both reflect the aura of the building and include elements to soften the interaction between the two.  

In reviewing the requirements I considered the need for a lawn. It has become a standard yet possibly habitual British trait to include a neatly trimmed lawn as a central (usually literally as well as figuratively), part of a garden. Yet, given the client’s requirements I questioned whether they might not want a lawn, with its twice weekly mowing in spring/summer and other general upkeep requirements. On this basis it was decided that more space could be given to comfortable paved seating areas and adequate planted borders if a lawn wasn’t included.


Final Design

The finished scheme has produced a wonderfully cosy, yet spacious, sun dappled outside space. The garden is divided into three main areas with a network of connecting paths all enveloped by a generous depth of attractive and functional shrub and herbaceous planting. A combination of pretty climbers and strong architectural shrubs around the house soften the aspect from the seating areas.  The choice and positioning of trees entices the user to explore the garden as well as providing a sense of calm seclusion.

The largest space is the dining area which includes a table and seating for six, yet is big enough for a larger number of guests, if required, as well as any dining equipment the clients may want to introduce. Throughout the design process for any landscape or garden I place a central consideration to the effect of sun and shade and the aspect of the space. I wanted the dining area to be perfectly positioned to catch the evening sun, as this is the time of day when the clients are more likely to be eating outside or entertaining. 


Garden Design for young couple in Buckinghamshire - 3D elavation drawing

The second area, I intended to be a smaller, cosier space for relaxing Sunday mornings or more intimate evening occasions. I decided to use the natural slope towards the eastern corner of the garden and create a small raised terrace. A change in level can add interest to a garden and I wanted to use the increase in height to catch the morning and evening sun.


For any garden I think it is important to have a space which can provide a cool calm haven from the hot summer sun. The third area of the garden is small and sheltered with a simple bench and small water feature. This intimate space is enclosed by four evergreen trees and the surface is softened with a warm golden gravel. The quiet trickle of the water feature and the cool dark shade of the trees add to the feeling of calm and tranquility in the space.


For all the paved areas I used a soft, buff coloured sandstone from a local Buckinghamshire quarry with warm hints of pink and beige that would harmonise with the natural reddish brick of the house while lightening and calming the visual impact of the hardscape. The antique red of the brick used for the walls and step risers add to the effect.  

The scheme is successful because it meets the clients’ brief while perfectly harmonising with the house and surrounding environment. I believe the key to good design is simplicity and this garden perfectly demonstrates how simple and strong design can be so effective in achieving a functional yet appealing outside space.


Garden Design for young couple in Buckinghamshire - Planting