large country garden design 5-hectare
Surrounded by agricultural fields near Saffron Walden in Essex, this weekend home features an intriguing range of outdoor amenities, set within a large landscape garden. We designed a Barbican roof terrace for our clients, and this time around, we focused on enhancing their country garden with contemporary compositions around its buildings. The back patio features an intimate setting and shade within open grounds, while the landscape design surrounding the house integrates architectural planters, since planting in the ground isn't feasible. A large swimming pool, tennis court and a multifunctional sports barn provide valuable facilities, utilised frequently by family and guests.
As the house front faces south, we planted mature Olive trees across its entrance driveway, while for the north-facing dining patio, situated at the back, we selected Buxus hedging and graceful Ginkgo biloba trees. To balance the building's vast scale, we displayed tall, multi-stemmed specimens featured in bespoke, powder-coated planters. The hedge designs articulate low, square forms to match a symmetrical facade, spanning two metres in width and length. To soften the barn's solid cladding, each unique planter design features a recessed niche, producing staccato rhythm and dynamic shadows and light interplays.
Design for Scale
Each area of the grounds was planted according to character. While the annexe is designed as a cottage garden, we interspersed herbs and perennials for wildlife. The sports barn required dense shrubs to balance its large scale, augmented with irrigation and lighting. Here, where the roofline is 8-metres high, we designed a trio of ultra-large, white conical pots which balances vertical cladding, viewed as a focal point from the poolside. Planted with white Silver birch trunks, the vessels' light-toned colour contrasts this immense structure, while the trees integrate seamlessly into a landscape of agricultural fields.
The pool patio unfolds an expansive vista of the garden, where we preserved uninterrupted sight lines. A herb garden provides fresh ingredients for cooking, leading out to a Japanese garden hideaway as the latest addition to our design & build projects here over the years. With the west boundary open to its rural landscape, there's charm in the interplay of man-made objects and natural elements. On a still evening, a balmy Essex sunset accentuates the site's character, where its horticultural ‘nature vs. nurture’ forms renewed, personal context.