Seaside garden landscaping Swanage

The Brief….

Our clients have lived in this beautiful house over-looking the sea for a number of years but never really made the most of the space they had.  Their back garden is directly facing the sea and Ballard Cliff and due to this, they suffer from both easterly and westerly winds. So we helped create a seaside garden designed and landscaped in Swanage, Dorset.

John and Julie said they were disappointed that even in the height of summer they could not sit out in the garden due to the winds. The lawn always suffered due to high levels of salt in the rain and as they both play croquet a nice lawn was essential.  Being by the coast the garden needed to complement its surroundings, be modern, look attractive and have enough space to entertain 8-10 persons as well as being low maintenance.

There was an existing raised deck wrapping around the house needed to connect sympathetically with the new garden.

The Design…..

We really wanted to make this garden fit perfectly with its environment and the design reflects this with long sweeping ‘waves’ encompassing two secluded seating areas. There is a large sunken area,  Natural Stone Circle, wrapped with soft wood sleepers increasing in height and then flowing back into the ground to shield from easterly winds.  The other seating/entertaining area has also a natural stone circle with vertical sleepers wrapping around it to protect from the Westerly winds.

We planned to extend the main deck by adding a semicircle of hardwood deck, jutting into the garden with steps leading down to the lawn to better integrate the house and garden together. The lawn is metal edged, and the borders are pebbled and finished with large Purbeck Stone boulders to give to break up and add interest to the planting.

Seaside Garden designed and Landscaped in Swanage, Dorset

The Job…

The first job was to strip the site of turf and grade the garden to the correct levels.  There is quite a fall over the whole site and instead of terracing the garden we were able to contour it as it was large enough not to lose any practical space by doing so.

Once the back garden was contoured the major piece of work was the Sunken area; We had to dig out this area to a depth of nearly a metre and then put in the type 1 ready to lay the Sand Stone Circle.  Once the Circle was in and pointed we started erecting the vertical sleepers.  These sleepers are on a curve wrapping around the stone circle but they increase in height as they sweep around and then descend again.  We also cut a champher into the wood to give it a bit more relief.  Obviously the cutting of the sleepers in situ would be very difficult/impossible so each sleeper is individually cut from a cutting list which is produced in CAD.  Working in CAD gives us all the details we could ever need and for this type of work it is invaluable!

We set the sleepers in concrete and steel band them front and back to give them more strength.  Once the sleepers were in we installed a Land Drain.  We had to do this as any area which is sunken below ground level will hold water and the clients did not want a swimming pool.  The land drain wraps around the sandstone circle around the back of the sleepers and into a Soakaway making sure that any water will be taken away efficiently and fluidly.

The other paved area was also a stone circle with vertical sleepers wrapping around going from low to high to low, this area protects the seating area from those Westerly winds.

The other main piece of work in this garden was the deck, in this case our client was a bit of a woodwork master so, he chose to build it himself using our design. The deck works really well, it is Balua Hard Wood and is fanned to give a really nice feel.  The decking from the garden looks like it is floating as the joists are counter-levered and cut down at the ends to give the impression it is floating.

We installed the metal edging and did the final prep for seeding the area. We used a specialised seed mix for coastal environments rather than turf. Finally the beds were prepared to 300mm and a membrane laid and 13 tons of pebbles distributed.

The Verdict…

 I have no problem recommending Peter. He is a very customer focused and imaginative landscape designer.  For us he came up with an attractive radical design which he readily adapted to our pocket and garden usage/maintenance.  The work entailed major re-landscaping, which he did efficiently and considerately.

We encountered a slight problem subsequently with land drainage and Peter did not hesitate to take responsibility and to fix it.

I would not expect Peter to not satisfy any plans you may have for your garden.

Mr H