Drive to distraction

Driveways are always a crucial part of any garden design – after all, it is the first thing visitors to the house will see – and they always present interesting challenges. The drive at the Windlesham house was no different, partly because it needed to be lowered by 50cm or so to coordinate with the sunken house, and much needed to be done to improve sight lines.

As well as contending with building site vehicles and dust and wash off from the works, we needed to move 15 cubic meters of compost to the site in order to start planting. Bordered by a collection of forsythia and other unremarkable shrubs on one side and dominated by rhododendron on the other, it took four days to prepare the soil, remove laurel hedging and winch out tree stumps.

“We were keen to take account of the woodland nature of the setting, with plants that could thrive in those conditions and continue to support the huge amount of wildlife,” says Simon. “We chose a mix of white spring flowering plants, Amelanchier lamarckii, Allium Mount Everest, foxgloves, geraniums and hellebores, combined with the limes and whites of Alchemilla mollis, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zebra' and Heavenly Bamboo, among others.

“The year-round scheme was completed with jeweled plantings that would make the most of the crystal clear autumn light: Fuchsia hybrida 'Mrs Popple’, Anemone hybrida ‘Whirlwind’, pheasant tailed grass Anemanthele lessoniana and a selection of arching ferns.”

Find out more about this design in our project diary, part five.