Pailleroux, Charente

Brief:

This client desired an attractive tidy up of their swimming pool area, which had become overrun by weeds, despite the fabric membrane and gravel in situ.

The garden planting has lots of structure, but little seasonal dynamic. It had no herbaceous planting whatsoever, with shrub planting limited to the hedging and a couple of small trees at the far end.

The client expressed a desire for low maintenance planting that is not complex to maintain and was keen on incorporating grasses into the scheme for a naturalistic effect. The client wished for some summer flower, which the garden was lacking.

Grandchildren frequently play in the swimming pool area during the warmer months so the angular gravel just had to go, as it was not pleasant to walk the area bare footed.

Design:

The bank comprising spoil from the build of the swimming pool needed some small modification at the far end where it narrows to make it more suitable for planting. Budget did not allow for any significant landscaping or retaining wall, but the bank could be cut into and shaped to some extent nonetheless.

A 50:50 mix of grasses and drought tolerant flowering plants was to be implemented, with a strong emphasis on long-flowering periods and insect attraction to maximise the small space and give interest to the grandchildren. Planting was carefully selected to ensure that at least two species will be in flower together at any time and will continue to overlap from Spring right through to late Summer/Autumn. The colour palette chosen begins with cooler colours and warms to oranges and reds as the season develops.

Herbaceous planting could be easily divided and replicated elsewhere in the garden at minimal expense in the future.

The bed was initially deeply mulched with compost, as the soil was very poor, with a pebble mulch added at a later date once the mulch had broken down to improve water retention. A decorative timber edge was added to retain the pebbles.