Scottish Borders garden design

reimagining an old farmyard

An old farmyard in the Scottish Borders transformed into an intimate garden with striking architectural features which reference its agricultural setting and frame views over the surrounding countryside.

The space had previously been a pig yard and still very much felt like a working part of a farm. Piles of rubble, stone and brick lay next to poured concrete standings. But despite its derelict feel the space had the most wonderful views and a sense of privacy not offered by other aspects of the garden.

Our client had been planning to install a shepherd's hut and some grass and seating as a possible holiday let but after spending time with her it became clear that the space held potential to become a much more interesting and intimate garden for her to enjoy.

The design is structured around a series of rusted corten steel and charred timber slatted screens carefully positioned to open up some views and close others off and filter the winds that can charge up the valley. The screens are interspersed with large round rusted metal rings planted with multistem Himalayan birch.

A bespoke garden room incorporates the same curved screens allowing our client to enjoy her garden whatever the weather.

Low natural sandstone walls give shelter and extra seating around a small firepit.

Care has been taken to recycle the materials found on site. Concrete and rubble have been crushed and mixed into the existing sandy soil to create a free draining planting substrate and reduce waste. The low walls are built from found sandstone gathered around the garden.

We embraced the gritty, sandy soil and selected plants to suit its light, free draining nature. Inspired by our plant hunting travels in Mediterranean landscapes we chose plants we are confidant will thrive in the light soil but which are hardy enough to cope with the hard winters. Our client was keen for us to experiment with plants which would not normally suit such a harsh location and we revelled in the opportunity and her trust in us to create something beautiful and unexpected.

We also chose a colour palette of bronze, soft yellow, blue and white to complement the rusty metal and sandstone which run through the garden.

The garden has been top dressed with gravel which will allow for a level of self seeding. The intention is for a loose organic feel with careful editing to guide it as it grows and develops.

The garden was photographed shortly after planting and has yet to fill out.