Changes in the Garden 3

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed with their thoughts, suggestions and ideas.  This for me is like having a good gardening friend at my side; mulling over ideas with a cup of coffee or perhaps you’d prefer a glass of wine?  Don’t be afraid to leave a comment with your thoughts.

I’ve stopped naming these posts ‘The Formal Garden’ because in future it won’t necessarily be formal at all, time to move on.  Although I haven’t finalised my ideas and plans work has begun on removing the lavender and Perovskia.  I thought it would help me (and you) if you could see what the long views from either end of the terrace look like now.

The terrace wraps around three sides of the house so these long views are even longer if you’re standing at the side of the house where cars arrive.

From the centre of the RH side of the terrace

From the centre of the RH side of the terrace. The RH walnut is almost in line with the pillar

I am pretty sure that I don’t want the path to be 3 metres wide, the width between the pillars on the terrace.  The new central planting will be able to extend to form a line that encroaches onto the path.  I don’t want a hedge, but spheres and mounds of ever-greens and ever-silvers that visually form a line.  The Large and Small Islands and (what is now the circular Rose bed can be extended so that their edges form the edge of the ‘path’.  I might add small trees to these beds being sure first that they won’t interfere with the view from any of the points where we sit on the front terrace.

Lemon trees in pots are placed by the terrace at present and it would be possible to plant close to the terrace with plants that you would look over when sitting at the table, but that would hinder the impetus to movement which the long view (with some kind of focal point) is intended to do.

From the centre of the LH side of the terrace

From the centre of the LH side of the terrace

The path needs to move to be in line with the centre of this view, the Left hand border can be extended to make it even wider the space created can have spheres included to link it visually with the new planting, leaving the basically perennial border as it is; I removed 6 roses before I went on holiday as they really only looked decent for a few weeks of the year.

Lavender and perovskia waiting to be put through the shredder

Lavender and perovskia waiting to be put through the shredder

This mulch will be invaluable for coving the soil after the new plants go in.

This mulch will be invaluable for coving the soil after the new plants go in.

This is the pile before the heap in the previous image was shredded.

Looking east from just beyond the fig

Looking east from just beyond the fig

Now that the lavender has been removed you can see one of the (I hope) small issues which I haven’t mentioned before.  The garden slopes very gently down from the terrace to the south boundary.  We had solved the problem with a very low tuffo wall, but it might work better if the existing path is removed and a new path though the new trees is created and I think this would work well if it wasn’t straight but curved around the new trees, creating a little mystery.

Looking west from the mulberry tree along the 'Spring Walk'

Looking west from the mulberry tree along the ‘Spring Walk’

The gravel is placed on top of landscape fabric to stop weeds, it wouldn’t be impossible to rake the gravel to one side, lift the landscape fabric, remove the tuffo blocks (they were dry laid so it wouldn’t be a big job) – did I just say that???!!!!

Next time I’ll give you a list of the plants I intend using and some images of a couple of gardens that have inspired me.

Of course with the heat this summer one option, I haven’t mentioned already, would be to put in a swimming pool.  My husband isn’t keen on that idea for many, many reasons, but there is nothing like being able to cool off whenever you need in a pool.




45 thoughts on “Changes in the Garden 3

    • Lavender is great mulch because it contains an oil from the lavender that inhibits growth of plants nearby, ie weeds. Lemons sometimes survive outside during the winter but it can be risky, mine all go into the greenhouse but that often means they flower early and then lose the small fruits when the have the shock of going outside in spring.

  1. I’m getting more confused with each of your posts about re-designing your garden. I couldn’t really offer any advice as you know your garden far better than we do, soil, climate etc. I’m sure, whatever you decide will be fantastic and I look forward to seeing the end result.

    • I’m sorry you’re confused Pauline, I’d hoped it was getting clearer as I show more views of the area. I wasn’t really looking for suggestions for plants more thoughts on how the design might work. Thanks for the quote of confidence about the outcome, it is a big decision to remove all the lavender and perovskia as it was such a fundamental part of my original design.

  2. Having missed previous posts Christina on developments and your plans for this area of your garden, I’d like to add my tuppence worth by saying that I am sure what ever you decide to do it will be equally as beautiful as the rest of your garden. Your gardens are laid out beautifully.
    Good luck with the remainder of the work and I look forward to seeing the finished result.
    BTW – Personally, I’d go with the swimming pool 🙂

    • With the unbearable heat this year, I’d be happy to go with the pool, though putting one in would probably disrupt the rest of the garden which I wouldn’t like.

  3. As our heat is soaring this week, that swimming pool looks very inviting. Pools here are an issue given our water restrictions. (If the water issues worsen, pool covers will become mandatory to control evaporation and new pools will be hard to get approved.) Your lavender mulch looks lovely, as does your open view looking out toward the walnut tree.

    • I don’t think the swimming pool will get past my husband’s veto. He his very firm in not wanting a pool, I would love to be able to laze about in one when it is so hot, I would use it a lot to keep cool and it would be good exercise too.

  4. Our long hot summer has had me thinking lap pool. I’ve scaled down from mooning over the idea of a natural pond large enough for swimming. Alas, all water fantasies will no doubt remain the stuff of dreams. My thought is that having enjoyed a formal garden, you might like going for the winding path as a complete change of pace.

    • Yes, I think the swimming pool is a dream that will never be fulfilled for me too! But it never does any harm to throw ideas into the air and see what lands! After reading this post my husband said he particularly liked the straight back path but when I changed it from being curvy he was less sure he liked it. Why is it that men hate change so much?

  5. “It wouldn’t be a big job.” That’s what I always say before starting work on something that turns into a very big job!

  6. A pool and a glass of wine…sounds great!
    A lap/plunge pool might be a good compromise, they only take up a sliver of space – many these days have jets of water so that you can actually swim against them for exercise (they call them “swim spas” here in Australia and can be in-ground, above-ground & even indoors; although I’m not sure what is available in S. Europe).
    I like the idea of the changes you are making. I think curved paths through the new woodland area will be lovely…and I am amazed that you have already started tackling these jobs in the billion-degree heat!
    With the long straight path – you can use two very easy tricks to make the garden appear much larger from the terrace. 1) is to start the path at 3m and then pinch it to, say, 2m by the time it reaches the walnut trees and 2) is to use larger spheres at the front of the garden and smaller spheres at the back near the walnut trees – these will all create a false perspective from the terrace.

    • Thanks Matt, I’ve heard of swim spas but I haven’t done any research on their availability here. I had thought about narrowing the paths, I think it would work particularly well for the central line of view as you come out of the house, I’ll play with the other views with some large posts that I found so I can get an idea of how it would work.

  7. I’m excited to watch your transformation, I have just taken a pool out! Ours needed extensive work done & once we had done our sums it wasn’t viable, plus kids have left home, upkeep is huge, takes garden space, only used for half the year, we always have water restrictions, very strict fencing rules & our western Australian summers are so hot, its cooler inside in the air conditioning than in the pool! I am so on your husbands side on this one!!!
    By the way, I think a curvy path through the trees would look lovely.

    • My husband is pleased to hear that many of you think a pool isn’t the best idea; if money were no object I think I would have one but actually the turmoil that would be caused while it was being built is probably the determining factor for me. I threw in the picture of the pool just to hear everyone’s reaction. If everybody had been very positive it would have possibly swayed me, though probably not my husband.

    • Ideas and planning are what I love – general upkeep don’t excite me in the same way so this is a wonderful opportunity to make the garden less work intensive and more about moving around the space.

  8. Whether to redress a slope or somehow make a feature of it is a big question …. Great to see work underway with such whole hearted commitment, at least the mulch will smell good! Do you think a key point, raised a couple of times, is how to make a journey through this area of the garden?

  9. It’s fascinating to watch the new ideas develop. Being in process of laying out my garden with straight lines, I am, of course, intrigued by your curving path 😉 One thing that is so difficult to assess at long distance is the “feel” of the area and its demands on your design. It has taken me some time to realize that the “wide open spaces” here strongly encourage either a completely open framework or a very enclosed one. For my small, intimate garden area, I am going with the latter. But your surrounding hillsides look much more forgiving!

    • I like glimpses of borrowed landscape; the north / north east boundaries are very enclosed by Leylandii to protect the garden from the strong, very cold winds, otherwise I would prefer some views out of the garden in every direction, but through very ‘channelled’ lines of vision. I have decided to add an enclosed area too, more about that soon.

  10. This is a more radical change than I thought of at first but it is sounding good and I like the idea of a path leading between the trees. I have to go and visit my trees so I think you would find the path useful too. We had mulled over a pool early on but I opted against, as I would have wanted such a big one that it would have been impractical. I like to swim in a pool and I find the smaller, more sensibly garden sized ones frustrating but that is a very personal feeling and we have the sea close by. Amelia

    • The sea isn’t too far from here either and the lake is even closer; you can get pools now with a currant to swim against so the pool doesn’t have to be so large.

  11. It is a shame the Perovskia has to come out, I loved it last year but I am sure you will make something fabulous in its place. A garden has to keep moving on and offering new challenges and what fun it is to have a new project on hand.
    A swimming pool would be lovely for when it is hot. I can see the attraction. But from a garden design point of view, I am not keen on swimming pools. But that is a personal thing, some people like the look of them.
    I am really looking forward to seeing what you do with this space.

    • There’s still Perovskia in the left hand border and I may well add to it. I agree about swimming pools on gardens especially if the are bright blue. If I were able to have one it would be hidden from the terrace by planting. I am quite keen on creating some ‘stopping’ places so you can stop and enjoy a different view or space while keeping the idea of the long views from the corners of the terrace.

  12. As you have found on my blog, even with maps and photographs it isn’t always easy to accurately visualise an area you have never seen – although these pictures have helped a little. Also, as you have already read, we really all have every confidence that whatever you decide will work and we will enjoy sharing the journey with you. It will be interesting to see whether you decide on retaining formality or whether you introduce more curves and windings. As the swimming pool is almost inevitably a no-no, do you remember that Annette at Personal Eden has an outside shower…

  13. I totally understand how wonderful it feels to go for a swim during the worst bits of summer but I would agree with your husband. They are bad news all round. hahaha My husband and I like to call the people here with private pools Harkonnens from the Dune novels.

    • Sadly I think the pool is a non starter, I was hoping that perhaps someone would be really, really enthusiastic and I could show it to my husband but most people seem to agree with my husband, never mind!

  14. A pool sound wonderful, at least in theory. In my climate, I could use one! However, my husband is also one who is set against ever installing a pool, also for many reasons. Perhaps a large fountain? I can’t remember if your design calls for a fountain, but that would be a nice addition.

  15. you have some good clearer ideas in this post Christina, as if your thoughts are coming together more, regarding the pool, I was thinking instead of the curvy roundish pool in the photo, a long narrow pool extending from the terrace would when not in use give a reflective long view, but your reply to the previous comment about mosquitoes would I am afraid make me hesitate to put any water near my house,
    just for interest when I was in Spain years ago, one place visited had lines of olive trees extending from the pillars along one side of the building, for presumably the benefit of the public visiting it was just grass underneath, the light cover of the trees gave a nice cooler shady area to sit under, the lines of the trees viewed from the terrace were very effective,
    I too have been shredding, yes, we have finally had some weather to garden by, I have trimmed down a very aggressive suckering shrub, it is very satisfying turning it into something useful, Frances

    • I don’t really like to see pools from the house, I don’t think they are ever really attractive. I do have one olive that I’m using as an ornamental and I may add more to the area that will be trees. They are one of the cheaper trees to buy here and are available in all sizes. For GBFD (that I hope you’ll be able to join this month) I’m going to show some of the images of other gardens that have inspired me for this new planting.

      • Christina, if you do not like to see pools from the house you have really answered yourself regarding a swimming pool, I can imagine an out door swimming pool could be a lot of work, especially if there are trees near by, all sorts of debris would get blown in,
        yes I will be joining GBFD this month, I didn’t last month as I was away, I had got some photos I had taken at Nymans but now my grandsons are older and so go to bed later there wasn’t time, as I don’t see them often I like to spend as much time as possible with them when I visit,
        the grasses I bought are for the middle front bed which will be my foliage post, I’m thinking of going into town again tomorrow to buy some more as I am liking the effect and the 2 small ones were a reasonable price,
        I look forward to see your other gardens posts, I will eventually post about the gardens I visited when I was down south, Frances

  16. I’m late to the party, having been out of the blogoshpere for so long, and admit to enjoying the irony of you removing so many perovskia plants when I am wishing for more! I like the idea of a curving path around the trees, it sounds as if you are going for a more relaxed feel, given structure by the strong shapes of ever greens and silvers – teucrium included? Would a natural swimming pond find favour with your husband, as it coudl blend in to the garden without the occasionally jarring tiles etc of a more traditional pool? They also have the advantage of using plants instead of chemicals to filter the water, but I have no idea whether one would work in the harsh climate you have.

    Thank you, I am feeling all energised just reading this, and am now off back to the later post to catch up with your ideas…

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