Sometimes there is no need for a hard landscaping design. All that may be needed is a review and revamp of existing planting with some supplementary work.

A riverside garden in Exton

This west-facing garden overlooks the tidal Exe estuary with fine views across  the river to the Powderham estate and the Haldon hills beyond. It already had one border with large granite boulders but I felt that the garden lacked balance. Accordingly a new border, including some more boulders moved from elsewhere in the garden, was cut into the lawn. I wanted the planting to echo not only the moving water of the river and the reed beds on the opposite bank but also to capture the wind and light so I mixed grasses, especially Stipa gigantea, into the planting scheme.Thickly planted, even in its first year the border was full of texture and colour. My clients were especially thrilled at how the slanting rays of the setting sun lit up the tall grass flowerheads.

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My clients are passionate about wild life and I wanted to increase the biodiversity within the garden to make it easier to manage. In order to attract more birds and insects, we have dug a small pond into the lower lawn and left this area as meadow with paths mown through it. Self-seeded wild flowers are transplanted from elsewhere in the garden and allowed to seed before the grass is mown in late summer. It is astonishing how quickly the meadow has become alive with birds and butterflies (snipe were spotted roosting there this winter) and the pond has been colonised by amphibia. My clients are thrilled.

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A riverside garden in Topsham

My client was dissatisfied with the tortuous curves in her garden and wanted a stronger shape as well as more interesting planting to give colour throughout the year. I also felt that the paths were too mean and had little point. We gave the lawn a much stronger shape, widened and re-routed the path, placing a stunning architectural plant in a large terracotta pot as a focal point. My client was delighted with the immediate improvement and looks forward to the development of the garden next year.

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Before......................................................and immediately afterwards