The Small Formal Front Garden

We were commissioned to design a small front garden adjoining a Victorian terrace house. Our client wanted a low-maintenance, tidy, smart garden to suit the property and look good throughout the year.The garden had an existing Cordyline in the centre, which provides structural interest and creates privacy – we kept this as a welcome feature.

The client also had a rose climbing up the house wall, on one side of the bay window. The garden suited a symmetrical, formal design, so we placed the same cultivar of rose on the other side of the bay window. Victorians loved bright colours and exotic plants, so the Cordyline and the rose were very much in keeping with the property.

Before
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During
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We wanted to keep the planting palette simple, and the design as symmetrical as possible. The garden was South facing, which suited Lavender, a great favourite of the client, so we planted Lavender under the Cordyline, and in square planters. The planters were white, with an acorn motif in each corner, chosen to match the house, which had an acorn motif in the centre of the bay window.

We also planted a small variety of Yucca in the centre of the planters, to echo the shape of the Cordyline.The biggest obstacle to the symmetry of the garden, and bugbear to the client was the bins that had to be kept in the front garden. The client managed to keep one bin in the back garden and reduce one of the other bins to a box, so that they could be neatly slotted into a corner, and the eye would be drawn to the planters rather than the bins.

To keep with the Victorian era of the house, I designed low brick walls built in Flemish bond (to match the house), with ornamental railings to go along the side of the garden and the side of the path. We found some handmade bricks which were a near match those of the house. The path was re-laid in York flagstones and a flagstone path was placed across the garden and under the bins, whilst the rest of the garden was gravelled.

The client had a Euonymus growing across one half of the front wall – we planted a second one on the other side, which will eventually spread over the second half of the wall. We also replaced the blue brick coping on the pillar along the front wall, with stone coping to match the neighbours.

After
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The resulting garden feels more spacious, looks good even in winter, and fits so well with the house, that it feels like it’s always been there.

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