"Make it quirky but classy." A Challenging Brief

How Botanica Garden Design Met A Challenging Brief - learn more about how the Wirral-based garden designer and landscaper met the 'quirky but classy' challenge set out for him

"The client wanted something that was contemporary, modern, to match with the internal design of the house, but also with a cottagey effect to tie in with the traditional finish of the building."

A scheme that will endure for many years - Botanica's scheme in the Wirral

That’s quite a brief, especially with the additional request for something "quirky, but classy at the same time".

As you can see from the pictures, Nick Webster of Botanica Garden Design, based in The Wirral, rose to the occasion magnificently, creating a design that sits very comfortably in its surroundings and offers a modern vibe at the same time.

"We needed various areas. I built in social seating, a dining area and a hard entertaining area outside the garden room that had just been built." Also included were a built-in trampoline and a swing for the client’s six-year-old daughter.

Sometimes having a client who’s very interested in the process can present challenges, but in this case, it was highly enjoyable. "She’s a really nice person to work for," says Nick. "Very instrumental in the design, very much involved in the whole process.

Quirky outdoor tiles were selected by the client, which added an eye-catching edge

When this arrangement works, it helps give the garden that extra-personal touch. The client found decorative tiles in a shop in London and Nick admits that he had a very different style in mind to incorporate into the paving. "She’s got something that’s very much her and that’s ticking the biggest box," says Nick, "creating something for the customer and not you."

The quirky tiles also echo the slightly blowsy plants that help blend the garden into the cottagey surroundings. "There’s a living wall, with quite garish planting," explains Nick.

Giving a contemporary backdrop are straight lines and modern materials. Grey Yorkstone is used almost throughout, not only for the paving, but for step risers, the facing on the low walls by the beds, and coping.

Nick created a jaunty path using sawn Grey Yorkstone

Our off-the-shelf Grey Yorkstone, available in three formats, is a boon to designers who don’t want a long wait for materials and where the budget doesn’t stretch to large, bespoke pieces.

Here it answered needs exactly. "I chose it because I wanted a modern look and the colour scheme inside the house was grey, so it picked up the internal design."

One of the most striking features is the path connecting the house with the garden room. It has a very distinctive stepping-stone effect, with wide, angular shapes. Nick began by building a solid path.

Differing height levels were navigated easily - and with style - by using the adaptable material selection

"I laid a full path and butted up the paving. No joints. I wanted stepping stones to look like whole units. Then, with the customer, I marked out how the triangles were going work and I cut out the channels that contain the grass."

How Botanica Garden Design Met A Challenging Brief ; with a mix of materials that created a stunning scheme

Pleasing details include the grass giving way in the last couple of channels to the beginnings of a chamomile lawn. The photos were taken about six weeks after completion, so the chamomile is still establishing. This will bring a gentle scent to the seating area. Also, in a neat detail, one of the stepping stones is continued along the edge of a bed as a mowing strip, uniting two parts of the garden.

The blue-grey colouring of the Grey Yorkstone paving (Nick used the 900x600mm format) works well with the achilleas, roses and dark-leaved heucheras. It also blends well with the DesignBoard Charcoal that Nick used next to the house.

Beautiful planting sets the tone, with Grey Yorkstone providing a calming soft grey to the palette

The natural-looking composite decking ticks the box on a more traditional element to blend with the building, while its simple lines echo the red cedar slatted panels that make up part of the fence, the cedar seating, and the crisp lines of the Grey Yorkstone path. "I really like the product," says Nick. "The fixing system is excellent. I’d definitely use it again."

The design shows how versatile our off-the-shelf Grey Yorkstone and DesignBoard composite decking are, given Nick’s clever blending of the traditional and the contemporary.

We think you’ll agree that Nick’s produced a lovely balanced design that unites all parts of the garden, allowing the materials and design elements to play their part to the full.

Many congratulations, Nick!

Published 31st October 2019
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