The site: Bramdean Lodge lies in a small village in rural Hampshire, surrounded by rolling farmland and chalk downs. The original Georgian farmhouse was extended and modified to the sides and front in the late 1800’s in the Victorian Gothic style. There is a walled garden behind the house and original brick coach house and stables just beyond this to the northeast. A large lawn in front of the house is enclosed by mature beech and lime trees and remnants of an old overgrown box hedge. These trees continue around the perimeter to give shelter and privacy. A driveway comes in from the east side and provides parking against the east wing.
The design: After consulting with the owners we wanted to create something that was contemporary to reflect their style of living, but traditional to sit comfortably with the house and area by employing local materials and methods. The design is characterized by the creation of distinct areas, each with its own style and approach but interlinked by a common ethos; one of easy living, relaxation and a traditional perspective, befitting to a period house. The use of symmetry, structure and balance is softened by rich plantings of shrubs, perennials and self seeding annuals. Water as a design element is carried through the gardens beginning with the water meadow and pools to the front of the house. The drive has been repositioned to give a better point of view on approach to the property. The first stage of the garden is currently in the process of being built.
Here we have created a terrace garden which mirrors the symmetry of the house and provides several possibilities for seating and dining. In buff sandstone, the terrace compliments the house colour and is punctuated by strong geometric shapes in clipped Myrtle and Yew which also follow the contours of the house. A large pool at ground level, edged in Irish Ivy, straddles the boundary between lawn and terrace and is flanked on either side by two raised pools.
Two small braziers close to the long pool add another dimension. Two Irish yew sentinels stand at the end of the long pool, emphasizing the verticality of the house and its entrance and frame the view beyond. A large green oak pergola provides a covered seating and dining area adjacent the kitchen. Flint detailing within the terrace emphasises the geometric shapes whilst large classical lead pots are carefully positioned and filled with seasonal plants.
Adjoining the strong clipped shapes are beds filled with shrubs, perennials and bulbs which sprawl over the terrace and merge with the clipped plants. Warm colours have been used throughout; soft yellow, apricot and browns and a smattering of orange and deep reds combined with a little silver foliage to compliment the soft house colour and silver patina of the stonework. Plants such as Rosa ‘Mrs Oakley Fisher’, Romneya coulteri, Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’, deep red and brown Iris, Lilium tigrinum, Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’ Cistus, and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’. Plants are encouraged to seed themselves into the joints of the paving, such as night scented white Tobacco, Verbascum bombyciferum, Papaver rupifragum and soft yellow, intensely fragrant Freesia refracta, softening the whole effect.
A traditional brick and flint wall has been used to create a definite enclosed space where we wanted to create something a little more contemporary with a Mediterranean feel; the inspiration was taken from the Paradise gardens and their predominance of fruit and vibrant colours. The existing Coach house has been transformed into a pool house in which to relax with guest accommodation and amenities.
A terrace in black limestone contrasts well with the red brick of the Coach House and absorbs warmth so that this area can be enjoyed throughout the year. A modern glass structure adjoining the Coach house can be used, with the doors folded back, in the warmer months as a covered seating area and when the weather is less than ideal, the doors may be repositioned creating a conservatory. This also serves to accommodate any tender plants in the winter.
A large swimming pool in the centre at a 30 degree angle to the Coach house gives a dynamic feel to the garden.
Contemporary styled loungers and seating is positioned around the terrace area. Large terracotta pots are planted with Pomegranates providing beautiful orange coloured flowers in summer and fruits in the autumn, fig trees with their dramatic foliage and black fruits and orange trees for the summer, all enforcing the Mediterranean feel and colour theme.
The borders are filled with plants in white, orange, and deep purple and black such as Alstroemeria ‘Orange Supreme’, Artemisia, Cistus, Californian poppy, Elaeagnus angustifolia, Fremondodendron, Gaura lindheimeri, Iris ‘Superstition’ Lilium ‘African Queen’ and Penstemon ‘Blackbird’. Climbers such as Jasmine, Trachelospermum, white Passionflowers and black grapes are used on the walls.