The Secret Wildlife Garden

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This garden had been designed about 14 years ago, by another designer, but my clients had recently acquired a new triangular shaped piece of land attached to it. They wanted this new part of the garden to be both a continuation of the existing garden – to flow from it as if it had always been there, and to become a ‘secret’, distinct space of its own, with a more informal atmosphere – with longer grass and wildlife- friendly planting. They wanted the shape of the area to be disguised, and the garden to be enclosed by shrubs and trees (,including some evergreens), both in order to avoid being overlooked and to make it feel secluded, safe, quiet, restful and tranquil.

I designed an area of wildflower meadow in a similar shape to the lawn areas in the main garden, whilst allowing room for trees and shrubs to be planted in strategic places to block views of neighbours. A wildlife pond and bog garden was situated in the meadow, and the ‘woodland edge’ planting around it created a variety of wildlife-friendly habitats.

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Next to the pond, I placed a seating area which would enable my clients to sit and appreciate the water, planting and wildlife.

Pathways were mown through the wildflower meadow, some with stepping stones, enabling flow through the garden, and a stepping stone pathway was laid through the trees, leading to a ‘wildlife hotel’ at the end of the garden. This was designed to entice the eye, and encourage my clients to walk around the garden, making full use of the space, and discover hidden parts and surprises.

Secret Garden Sketch 1

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Secret Garden Sketch 2

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Secret Garden Sketch 3

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The colours from the main garden were continued through into the planting and the hardlandscaping in the new section, and the use of some of the same plants (such as Silver Birches), lent continuity to the garden. Many native species were used, trees and shrubs with berries and blossom, and bulbs and hardy, low maintenance, perennials with single, nectar and pollen rich flowers. The planting was designed to create different layers of interest and some change throughout the year at the same time as being easily managable. Many climbers were used on the fences, helping to diguise and soften the boundaries. Autumn and spring colour and structural winter interest were important features in this design, and I used plants that provided interest in more than one season.

There were two routes in to this area of garden, contributing to the flow of the design. Space was allocated to compost bins, hidden by a native yew hedge. A focal point was placed between this yew hedge and the neighbouring large holly, to brighten up an otherwise dark corner.

This garden will grow and change over time, it will become a haven for wildlife and will provide my clients an enjoyable enhancement to their existing garden.

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