Smaller Gardens

Smaller gardens are often a greater challenge than larger ones but often have greater possibilities for playfulness. Simplicity and generosity are key.

Front garden, Victoria Road, Topsham

This small, un-used and unloved garden at the front of a charming period house in a conservation area faces onto a pedestrian thoroughfare. My clients wanted somewhere lovely to sit which set off the architecture of the house. Incorporating a simple but stunning wooden sculpture, a formal structure of box hedging is filled with a voluptuous mixed planting of evergreen shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Scented and aromatic plants make this both a welcoming front garden and an inviting place to sit.



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Before,an unloved space Now, an open and welcoming garden




What the clients said:- "You have produced the most magical change to the front of our property. Daily, people stop and gaze. Some have even knocked on the door to express admiration. Thank you."

This garden was built by The Garden Team


A tiny oasis in Topsham

My clients had a difficult space between the back of their modern mews house and a sloping 'cliff' face of natural sandstone and gabions. They wanted a place to sit outside, a peaceful green oasis which looked good from the upstairs sitting room as well as at ground level but which would also allow for a car to be parked in it when they had visitors. A low brick wall to match the house retains planting areas packed with herbs, bulbs and other evergreens. A multi-stemmed birch gives interest throughout the year, using  the background of evergreens in neighbouring gardens to good effect. There was even room for a small, bespoke bubble fountain to retain attention within the garden and to encourage the birds to bathe.

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This garden was built by The Garden team

A suburban garden in Exeter

This small, open, sunny garden is only twenty minutes walk from  the centre of Exeter yet is a calm, green oasis incorporating a small pond, borders packed with choice plants surrounding a lawn, a small terrace with a fountain falling into a raised pool  and cordoned apple trees hiding the greenhouse, shed and washing line. A  quiet, peaceful haven which has also been known to come alive with parties.

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A private sanctuary within the Cathedral close


This small space is the only private part of a much larger garden belonging to a very busy senior official at the Cathedral. It had been a vegetable garden at one time and, when I visited, had become overgrown with weeds.  He and his family wanted to create an open courtyard with a Mediterranean feel where they could relax, have family meals outside and entertain their friends. The sound of water running was essential to help shut out any city-centre noise.

These photos were taken immediately after planting in early summer 2008

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Now,a year later and despite a very harsh winter, the planting has filled out and the garden looks as if it has always been there. A stylish table and chairs and a free-standing hammock indicate that this really has become a place in which to relax.

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What the clients said:  " The garden is amazing!. It really is a haven of tranquility and it looks fabulous.  I can't tell you how thrilled we are and how much we are enjoying it. "

This garden was built by The Garden Team


An inner-city "loafing zone"

My client wanted this small section of a garden square in the centre of Exeter to be a stylish garden, appropriate to the Edwardian houses but with a contemporary edge, where she could relax in a degree of privacy. The planting needed to look after itself because she is busy and often away.

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Before: an uninviting and crowded space

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Now, photographed just after planting, this is a calm and inviting oasis with mostly evergreen plants including a myrtle hedge and scented clematis and star jasmine surrounding smart, coloured containers.

My client said "Thank you so much for my beautiful garden, for all your hard work, patience and oodles of fun"

The garden was built by The Garden Team