Dorking Cottage Garden

A charming stone cottage in a pretty village. The garden to the rear of the property needed revitalising. French doors lead from the drawing room to a petty and serviceable  crazy paved terrace edged by a low stone retaining wall atop of which was an awkwardly shaped lawn and a scatter of assorted sheds. In narrow borders around the lawn edge  were some pretty and well established shrubs.

The sheds were dismantled and disposed of. A new summerhouse was positioned at the head of the lawn with compost bins hidden behind  to keep them out of sight. The existing tall shrubs along the boundary were pruned and interplanted with other varieties of shrubs to contrast and compliment them.

Rhythm and interest are given to this cottage garden using circles of planting and lawn with grass paths between.

Plants used included those that are the essence of an English country garden, Delphiniums, Clematis, Lavender, Sweet Rocket to name a few, the colour palette  purples, mauves, blues and white making sure to have lots of scent along with pollen filled flowers for the insects. A slim bed on top of  the low retaining wall was filled with ground cover flowering plants to tumble and fall over the edges, so there is always a pretty backdrop for meals served outside.

Taking the lead from the timber boards on the garage, the oil tank was disguised with horizontal cedar boards.

There is a handsome brick wall along the boundary with the neighbouring property, to give extra height to the wall I chose a row of lollipop, topiarised evergreen Photinia, these were encouraged to grow out so their heads became one, they are clipped annually to make a hedge on stilts, the brick wall can still be seen behind the stems but the view of the neighbour’s house is diffused

Shade loving plants of Astilbe, Columbine, Ferns and Foxgloves sit prettily together thriving in cool shade providing leafy texture to a shady corner  paved with a circle of clay bricks on which sit a bench and table, on the hottest of days my clients enjoy sitting  here with a cool drink.

We asked Angela to design a garden that would complement our mid seventeenth century cottage. We had recently moved from London to the Surrey Hills and were very keen to have a garden that we could enjoy and enrich our knowledge of plants. We required a design that was manageable, incorporating areas where we could just sit and enjoy the sun or a shady spot, Angela came up with an innovative and exciting design. 

The plot is an awkward shape and had been used as a children’s play area. However, it did have existing shrubs and trees and Angela included these in her design thus helping to keep the costs reasonable. As these were established plants, this aided the look of permanence very quickly. She followed this up with many suggestions for cottage garden plants, advice on colour co-ordination, pruning, feeding etc and most importantly, she has kept in touch so that we have been able to build on the original design with more ideas for further planting.

We feel very lucky to have met somebody who was so in tune with us and immediately recognised our requirements

David and Marion Cole, Abinger, Surrey