Survey and brief completed, Ruth Chivers has produced her new design for Greenfingers’ competition winner Tina Mantle’s £20,000 garden makeover. Here she outlines its main features
Here, the new design does not include a lawn. A deck takes the space of the conservatory, blending into paving slabs through the side courtyard and the rebuilt main steps up into the top part of the garden. The plan for the upper deck makes use of the existing retaining terrace wall and new timber steps improve circulation around the whole garden. The positions of manhole covers also have to be taken into account when making patios and decks. Removing the existing pond will allow a spa to be incorporated into the upper deck. The whole team wanted to make planted areas at the sides of the garden as large as possible. Setting these at an angle, reflected by the front edge of the top deck, gives a generous bed size, bringing plants into the foreground.
The triangular-shaped side garden is at present little more than a passageway, narrowing from the entrance. At our first visit to the Mantles, I’d envisaged developing this area using raised beds to minimize the impact of the boundary fence on top of the retaining wall. Setting these timber-raised beds at an angle of 30° matches the lines of the back garden and leaves a useful paved area. Laying paving slabs and decking at the same angle helps to make narrow spaces appear much wider, and gives a sense of continuity throughout. Tina Mantle wants to move an existing table and chairs into the new side courtyard to catch the evening sun, a perfect example of practicalities affecting design ideas. It’s something to remember when rethinking your own garden.