East Lothian Front Garden

garden of light and texture

A large front garden in East Lothian filled with drifts of grasses and herbaceous perennials interwoven with gravel paths and a formal entrance edged with low clipped hedges.

The existing garden was a typical suburban front garden with a large empty lawn surrounded by narrow borders filled with mature overgrown shrubs and a vast gravel driveway. We were asked to create an interesting plant filled space which captured the beautiful evening light through the seasons.

Because planting is key to this garden we took the bold move to keep the hard landscaping to the essentials. We created a formal paved entrance path and soft, simple gravel paths leading through large planting zones.
A small cobble edged circle provides a space to pause and reflect in the centre of the planting. The gravel also acts as a mulch, helping to reduce weeds.

The planting design is anchored around a repeat planting of multi-stemmed Amelanchier canadensis underplanted with Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ and Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’.
As the garden is located less than 500m from the sea we embraced the almost constant coastal breeze and free draining soil and selected grasses to lend movement and herbaceous perennials in a gentle palette of blue, pink and purple.

The upright spires of Agastache 'Blackadder' and Stachys byzantina are held back from tumbling over the porcelain and block path by a low clipped Buxus sempervirens hedge and Taxus baccatta cubes which also bring a formal feel to the footpath entrance.

Late in the summer the evening light captures the translucency of the seedheads of the grasses and the flat flower heads of Selinum wallichianum and Cenelophium denudatum whilst the Stachys byzantina still bears tiny flashes of pink.

We chose four grasses for their interesting seedheads, their form and their movement in the breeze. Single plantings of Stipa gigantia anchor the scheme whilst larger blocks of Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis brachytrycha and Deschampsia cespitosa repeat to bring flow and rhythm.