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Overlooking the harbour

A visually stunning outdoor space overlooking Poole Harbour with glorious views of Brownsea Island.

The Brief

The challenge in this coastal garden was to work with an existing, dated Italian style, brick based sunken garden, updating it into a practical space for entertaining and enjoying the amazing sea views.

The client had lots of requirements to be fitted in to the space including a boat house, water harvesting system, and outdoor kitchen. As an entertainment space they also wanted lights and speaker system built in as well as an irrigation system to keep the whole space as low maintenance as possible.

The design

To transform this garden we used a series of interconnecting circular decks to provide a variety of seating and entertaining areas. The sunken deck has built in seating, an outdoor kitchen, a Corten Steel and vertical planting feature wall and the Corten Steel laser panel – a bespoke piece designed for this client. A Buxus hedge and seasonal planting surround this deck.

There are two large connecting decks which include areas for entertaining and enjoying the view as well as a small, cosy deck area accessible via large boulder stepping stones, a sun deck and a hand made bench tucked into a mix of grasses and rusted steel bulrushes.

The planting is a bold collection of structural tropical style plants mixed with grasses and an abundance of Agapanthus. Planting adjacent to the ornamental pool is lower growing perennials that will blend to form a carpet of colour without distracting from the view. The lawn level is edged with a curving wave of grasses and blue/green perennials that drift and sway in the wind.

Work in Progress

This project was a huge transformation to the space, as can be seen from these images! It took several months to complete with the team working over winter in some pretty treacherous conditions.

We raised the main sunken garden so that it was high enough for our clients to enjoy the view, but low enough to still benefit from some shelter. With the vertical surfaces being clad in cedar and a Millboard deck throughout, this whole space is low maintenance. We also installed the outdoor kitchen in this are alongside some bespoke Cor-ten steel panels and vertical planting walls, these also served to soften the views back towards the house. These panels also serve as access panels for all the main controls for the garden – irrigation, water harvesting, lighting etc. as well as offering additional hidden storage.

The lowest level of the garden leads directly onto the harbour and features a hidden ‘boat house’ with wood burner, drying racks for wet weather gear and storage for paddleboards and kayaks, a seating area, outdoor shower and sink for gutting the day’s catch! This lower area has been clad in old scaffold boards, which will weather beautifully and withstand the elements. Tough salt resistant plants fill the raised beds.

Bespoke Corten steel planters filled with deep blue Agapanthus, carefully chosen sculptural pieces and atmospheric lighting feature throughout the garden.

The End Result

We created a stylish and extremely functional garden that really makes the most of the incredible waterfront location and stunning sea views.