Through the window.

When starting the garden here, many, many years ago, I felt that whichever part we were doing had to look right from inside the house as well as from outside. So many times, I would mark things out, usually with a hosepipe, then rush back inside to see if it looked ok, if not, then back outside, move the markers a bit and try again. Eventually when I was satisfied with the shapes I had marked out, grass could be cut back, (everywhere was just grass to start with, except for a few shrubs) soil improved and planting started.
We’ll start with a view from the landing window, the shape of the border had been decided by the previous people and filled with shrubs. This is how it stayed for a good number of years until I decided to make the front half into the Bee and Butterfly border and the back half  where we have the silver birches and red stemmed Cornus in the winter., something of interest for 12 months of the year.

From landing window

From Kitchen window

From the kitchen window there is the rose garden between the house and garage, in the centre is where I put the carving of the gardening books and the Little Owl, but at the moment it is still safely in the garage, keeping away from rain and frost (what frost, we are still waiting for our first proper frost!) for another month. We usually only see the box balls in the winter, in the summer there are so many roses billowing over them, we can hardly see them.

From Kitchen

The main part of the garden is at the side, there should have been another house on the site but the builder wasn’t given planning permission, that’s how we ended up with a larger than average garden. This is the view from one of the dining room windows. All the plants on the table are what I have been growing  to be planted in the woodland. If you go up the steps and forward a few feet, the grass turns into a circle with the bog garden on the right, straight ahead is the new pond that we dug and to the left, the pergola which leads to the fruit and veg.

Dining room window

Further round we come to the other window in the dining room which faces the back garden. The circular raised bed was the pond that the previous people made and we turned it into an alpine scree when we dug the other pond. This is the only area in the garden that has fantastic drainage as I mixed the soil myself, adding more and more grit as I came towards the surface.

From Conservatory

Another view from the side window in the conservatory  looking at the scree again. Apologies for all the reflections!

Back garden form conservatory

The view looking straight at the woodland at the back of the house, with the archway leading to the bridge over the ditch. The woodland is a narrow strip running alongside the road through the village. When the houses were built, the builder wanted all the trees to come down to make way for driveways for 4 houses, thank goodness the village protested and a Tree Preservation Order was put on all the trees, hence the houses had to be built back to front with an access road for us running  alongside the field next door. When all the leaves are on the trees, we can’t see the houses over the road and feel quite private.

I’m happy with how the garden has turned out and don’t feel the need to change the shape of any of the borders or any of the hard landscaping done by the under gardener and for that he is very thankful!  The planting though is another matter, after about 10 years the planting in each border needs revitalising and the soil needs nourishing, so one by one the borders are being re-done,  so that nothing jars when I look at the garden from inside the house.

How did you plan your garden?

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26 Responses to Through the window.

  1. Angie says:

    I’m planning as I go along! Probably not quite the right way to go but when I first started the garden here 3 years ago – I really didn’t have a clue! I find now I have a better idea of what I want to achieve and am continually working towards that goal.
    Seeing your woodland from afar has given me a better perspective on what I’ve been reading about in your End of Month View post.
    Your garden is beautifully planned – a credit to all the effort you made in the first place. You should be very pleased with yourself 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Angie, we certainly didn’t design it all in one go, just a different bit each year and then hoped that they joined up without a seam! I suppose we should have sat down with a large piece of paper, instead it took us about 13 years to do it all! Even then, I didn’t get it right first time, there have been a few tweaks along the way.

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I didn’t really design mine… well I do have plans but when it comes down to it I always end up planting things wherever feels right. So planting plans go out the window. However my main stumbling block here are the stairs leading up to the garden; they’re right in the centre so make it very difficult to have any sort of pretty, winding secret garden that I’d like to have. As a result I feel it’s just a bunch of borders plonked around. But there’s nothing I can do to rectify that unless I completely re-landscape the garden – not a job I ever intend to do! I hope, that wherever I move to, doesn’t have such problems or I have the chance to change it.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Liz, I think terracing brings a load of problems with it, we were so lucky in that ours was almost a blank, level canvas. Our son and dil have just moved to a house where the tiny garden is terraced and it certainly is a problem, but I think a re-landscape maybe the only option for them.
      I hope you find a nice level garden with your new house and are able to do just as you like with it.

  3. rusty duck says:

    You have certainly achieved a garden that looks good from inside the house.
    The structure here is pretty well determined by the omnipresent woodland, but I am tweaking small areas as I go along. Unless we do something truly radical, only with the benefit of much more time and money, it won’t change much. But I am discovering, as I look, that there is a lot to be said for a shade garden, so I hope to create a gradual transition between more formal garden and the wild.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m a firm believer in going with the situations we are presented with, like our strip of woodland and bog garden. It took me a while to find out all the different planting requirements, definitely a case of learning on the job.I too had to learn how to cope with so much shade, all our huge trees are on the south side of the garden! I look forward to seeing your shade garden in the future.

  4. How I envy you your lovely views from the house windows! We can’t see the garden until we move outside, but I planned it from the ‘looking down’ views and it has been done rather piecemeal, using the 5 lime trees planted by the previous owner as points to draw lines. Unfortunately that means that it always looks the same from the house at the moment, because everything is so small. And a shade garden is a dream for the future! Nice to get an overall view of your garden, Pauline, thanks1

    • Pauline says:

      But Cathy, you must have views of the lovely countryside instead? Don’t worry about everything being small at the moment, they will soon grow and then you will be spending your time cutting back, which is what we do now! We have so much shade, I had to learn to love it when we moved here. but now know that lovely effects can be created with beautiful leaves that don’t like the sun.

  5. Helle (Helen) says:

    It’s funny how one always wants to focus on the sunny spots in the garden, worrying about there being too much shade. I’ve come to really like our shady parts of the garden as there are so many lovely plants around that grow best in shade, not deep shade, but mottled shade. I also like the sunny areas, but it’s actually nice to have both kinds. It must be rather nice not seeing the neighbours once the trees come into leaf.

    • Pauline says:

      I’ve learnt to love all my shade Helle and sometimes you get lovely foliage combinations which you just wouldn’t get in sunny spots. We’re both lucky to have sun and shade to play with. It is lovely when we get our privacy once more, but another house has now been built right by the fruit and veg, we will have to wait and see if our hedge will keep us private in the summer.

  6. Anna says:

    Most envious of your views from the house Pauline. We self built our bungalow on a limited budget and were greatly restricted as to where it would fit in on an odd shaped plot. The garden was started completely from scratch, without a clear plan and with limited time to work on it. It’s turned out to be a definite case of “If I knew then what I know now” 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, this is the first garden we have made from scratch, all the others have been what we inherited with various houses. Here too the garden is a funny shape, a square with a triangle alongside is about the easiest way to describe it. The garden at the side eventually goes to a point, which is where we put the fruit and veg. There was no big plan to start with, each bit was changed when I had earned enough by teaching woodcarving at night school. I have learnt so much by doing this garden, bit by bit, if only I had known it all at the beginning!

  7. pbmgarden says:

    It’s great seeing your wonderful garden views inside and out Pauline.

  8. Annette says:

    You’ve certainly succeeded in creating a beautiful garden that looks good from all angles and provides interest through the year, Pauline. I always enjoy my visits to your little place of heaven. I always listen to what a place has to tell me and then I develop the design gradually. I love to create different moods and as I’m so mad about plants it’s a bit of a challenge to accomodate those I can’t be without.

    • Pauline says:

      Glad you like it Annette, you are so kind with your comments! Sometimes it does feel like a bit of heaven but also sometimes I feel I’ve created a monster that demands every minute of my time!! I too had to listen to what the garden was telling me, obviously woodland plants in the woodland, but also turning the boggy mess at the right hand side of the garden at the side of the house into a proper bog garden. As we are on heavy clay, Mediterranean plants aren’t happy, even when I have improved the soil, so two troughs and the alpine scree (was the old pond) is the place for these. I think if you love plants you will find a place where they will be happy.

  9. Christina says:

    I really enjoyed seeing all these different views of your garden which is certainly inviting from any angle. I laid out the island beds using the same method as you, hose pipe and window; I think it is the only way on a sloping site, the rest I used pencil and paper. It many ways it was much harder designing my own garden.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Christina, a few scribbled drawings on the back of envelopes were sometimes used if my husband couldn’t visualise what I meant. I imagined you would have beautifully drawn out plans for the whole of your garden, like you would do for your clients! Did you design your garden all in one go, or did it evolve over a few years?

  10. Alain says:

    The view from the window is superb.
    I suppose few gardens are completely planned from the start. Here I planned the layout but not the planting which evolves as time goes by.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Alain, I think most of us do it a bit at a time, I know it took us 13 years to get the garden here as we wanted it! The planting is always being updated, some plants die, some need splitting, there is always something to do to improve what we have. Gardens are never finished and that is the beauty of them, it would be so boring if they just stayed the same all the time wouldn’t it.

  11. Alain says:

    Have you ever read “We Made a Garden” by Margery Fish? The last few pages are all about the fact that a garden is never finished and that is the beauty of it. It is a very interesting, entertaining and unusual gardening book. It has been described, by James Fenton, an Oxford professor of poetry, as “How I outlived a brute of a husband and began to find myself and make sense of my garden and my life”.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Alain, I have the book and yes I’ve read it. Her garden at East Lambrook Manor is only a short distance from here so We have visited it many times, usually at snowdrop time,it is famous for its snowdrops. The tweaking of the planting is what makes gardening so interesting, always searching for perfection but never quite getting there! Wouldn’t it be boring if it was finished and remained the same all the time?!

  12. Frank says:

    Pauline, I think I might also be on the 13 year plan. I’m going part by part but rarely end up with anything I’m completely thrilled with. Ok- so maybe I’ll be on a 20 year plan, but so far it’s been a fun ride!
    I sometimes forget that your garden is so much more than just the woodland, and I wish I had room for a few birches and colorful cornus. Maybe I should just cram them in anyway and see how long they last 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      As long as you enjoy making the garden Frank, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. I don’t think I could have drawn up a master plan for the whole of the garden, by letting it evolve a bit at a time, I discovered micro climates which suited some plants and not others. We were lucky to find so many areas different from each other in the garden here, it was a steep learning curve for me, but one which I have really enjoyed over the years.

  13. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your garden views from inside your home are gorgeous! I tend to “plan” by trial and error. Plant things, realize that it’s all wrong, dig everything up and start again. I’ve actually gotten a little better at thinking before I plant things over the years.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Peter, you’re very kind! When I first started gardening here, I made plenty of mistakes, it takes time to get to know a garden properly, working out where all the micro climates are and let’s face it, we all learn by our mistakes!

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