© Andrew Lawson
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Berkshire Garden

This house is an old but unpretentious brick farmhouse. Eighteenth century but with earlier parts to it, set in a field of unremittingly stolid clay on the borders of Hampshire and Berkshire. The local context is of dense hedgerows, hedge banks speckled with primrose and anemone in spring, and oaks everywhere.

Historically the plot consisted of an open field to the south and a more enclosed area to the north, delineated by the house, an early timber framed barn and a modern garage block. This became the focal area of the garden, linking the buildings together. Materials include York stone paving and sandstone cobbles, with Corten steel forming low retaining walls and water tanks.

This garden is intended to look its best in late autumn and winter, requiring a strong structural framework. This is formed by several main elements; the tanks, which can be lit at night, the linear box hedges which alternate with these, and the planting, which includes tall grasses and herbaceous perennials with attractive seed heads. Crab apples provide late colour with their fruit. In Summer, rusts and purples are dominant, with gamboges, yellows and deep reds.

On the south of the house, the garden is very different and more dominated by the landscape. The views open on to the panorama of the downs and an orchard-like planting recalls the former use of this field. The “orchard” is flanked by evergreens on either side. To the west there are large groups of clipped yew tumps, to the right, a tennis court is sunken and hidden behind a moundy box hedge. Further to the west, a new garden area has been developed, enclosing a small football pitch. The enclosing planting is simply made up of hazel bushes and wildflowers, so that where the garden meets the fields it isn’t really much of a garden at all.

© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson
© Andrew Lawson