Pro Landscaper - October 2014

Pro Landscaper - October 2014

Pro Landscaper

Originally published on 14th October 2014 Download a copy

A young family's garden which was completely overgrown and unusable was redesigned to generate more space and a bespoke play area for the children, while still complementing the age of the house.

This was a large project and a real challenge as it was so overgrown; it involved a huge amount of earth moving, pond filling, retaining walls and unknowns. Cube 1994 were called in after a recommendation.

The brief was to come up with a solution to create more space for their young family, complement the listed building, and to use materials that fit in with the age of the home. The client particularly didn't want any new looking bricks and specifically wanted bricks that would laminate so they looked aged immediately. A cottage style planting scheme was required and a log store.


The garden was incredibly overgrown, to the extent that we could not see the scale of the space, therefore we advised the client to let us approach the project stage by stage. The client fully entrusted us to embark on this project without any full-scale plans as it was going to be on a design as you go basis.

Firstly we set about clearing the overgrown garden. We discovered a 4m x 4m gazebo, which led up to a pond 8m x 12m with a broken retaining wall supporting one side of the pond. We cut back the overgrown boundary laurels to gain an extra 3.8m of garden on two sides. We emptied the pond slowly to see if any life was still in it, thankfully there wasn't.

We then came up with a solution to cut back the sloping garden, gain 13m more length and lose the dig out by filling in the pond. Retaining walls were required to hold back earth from the neighbouring gardens at 1m high while we cut into the bank on one side and 1.5m on the side joining this.

We came up with a solution that was harmonious with the listed building by creating retaining walls in new oak.

However, this was not to be a simple oak wall, we designed it to be a feature and built a bespoke oak fort on two levels and acted as a supporting wall to the higher ground. The fort was one of the main focal points from the house into the garden. The walls allowed for a slow transition level from the low level to the high level. A split-level was built in the fort with a Balau deck, fort door entrance with hand forged door furniture, crenulations along the upper fort level and a climbing wall on its side. You can also access the upper level of the fort by way of going through the door and up a stepladder. The whole area was surrounded in rubber chippings to keep it clean all year. A sunken trampoline was also included and a slide for a multifunctional play area with a dual purpose of retaining the embankment.

Additional retaining walls built with reinforcing and concrete filled block walls were incorporated to the rear of the cottage to increase the available space around the rear. A land drain was built behind the retaining walls to prevent back pressure. This allowed us to double the patio space in this area. A feature log store was also built and logs from the felled tress used to create a feature wall on one end.

To comply with the new SuDS regulations, a CEDEC gravel drive system was incorporated to the front. Retaining walls were also required here to hold back the narrow public footpath and attain as much new space as possible to the frontage. A very complementary path leading from the drive was built with access to the rear garden through a bespoke built pergola and gate. A white picket fence was also incorporated to typify the standard cottage garden.

The final result was a great success, the garden became a child-friendly place, in keeping with the cottage style of the home.

Designer and creator of bespoke landscaped gardens, Sean Butler Director of Cube 1994, has been specialising in this field for 20 years. With a background in civil engineering Sean has an in-depth understanding of the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built landscape. Sean is a member of the SGD and BALI.

Award winners at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2014 and the RHS Chelsea Flower show in 2013 and 2012, Sean has built a prestigious reputation in the garden design industry and has had much media attention.