Asnois, Vienne

Brief:

This is an opportunity to create a garden entirely from scratch. The clients had not lived in the space for very long and had not yet spent a summer there.

The property comes with an exceedingly large plot of land so the clients desire a low maintenance garden, both front and rear, that will allow them to spend their time improving the remainder of the land and property.

The clients want a garden space with plenty of opportunity to be outside throughout the day, with additional space to entertain when confinement and other covid restrictions permit. The clients are fond of more contemporary planting schemes and construction materials.

The house and garden have some water challenges: they sit in a cut in the land at the bottom of a small valley. When it rains hard during winter water collects around the house with nowhere to go until it slowly drains away.

Sensibly, the client wants to get involved with the build of the garden to allow the budget to be spent wisely on better materials and more mature planting.

Design:

The design challenge was to imagine how this space will be physically used by its owners having never been used before as a garden. The plot immediately behind the house is wide, but not terribly deep so a series of vistas and visual markers have been used to slow the eye through the garden and stretch that space.

An allee of fastigiate trees will be added to give some afternoon shade, a vista from the living room out into the garden and a place under which the client can kick back with a few beers and enjoy a game of petanque.

The budget does not allow for a total reforming of the land, but the design incoporates a levelling of the land behind the stone filled gabion retaining walls to attenuate the water flow coming off the neighbouring fields. Added drainage behind channels away excess water. Large planting beds will absorb any additional water that escapes further still. Additional works not included in the project are being undertaken by the client, in coordination with neighbouring landowners and local authorities, to deal with excessive water run off from other land coming onto the clients’ land.

The front and rear gardens are different in their form and structure, but are linked by the materials used and a cohesion between the planting schemes. Taller and diffuse planting will disguise ugly fosse septique inspection covers.

This project is in the planning phase, with construction and planting expected to be completed by the end of 2021. I will be showing this garden’s progress through my Instagram account.