Some of the photos below are of the just-finished garden, showing the structure; others taken later reveal how the plantings are starting to make the space lush and beautiful.
Who lives here: A professional woman
Location: Roundhay, West Yorkshire, England
Size: 3,234 square feet (300 square meters); 33 by 98 feet
Designer: John Brennan of Yorkshire Gardens
The owner wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with the space, beyond making it usable and enjoyable, but Brennan established that she liked Japanese, Mediterranean and cottage gardens, so he aimed to subtly blend elements of all three.
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“We terraced it using imported soil, so as you go up, the depth of the decent soil varies. Some of the plants we put in went completely mad, while a couple didn’t thrive,” he says. (He’s since replaced the latter.)
“There’s an area on the left [of the garden] to sit, an area on the right to sit, and a nice walk through the middle,” he says. “And the walk alters as you go along, as you’re changing level and direction and going through different styles of planting.”
Elegant cypress trees bookend the garden. They’re Italian ‘Totem Pole’ cypresses (Cupressus sempervirens ‘Totem Pole’), which Brennan says are slow-growing and don’t get very big.
He initially put wildflowers in the back planter but wasn’t really happy with them. “They tended towards very few species — mainly Achillea,” he says, “so then I put in loads of bulbs and some grasses.” You can see those newer plantings in the next photo.
The bank is south-facing, but the area near the front of the garden is in the shadow of the house, so Brennan chose shade-tolerant plants for the lower beds, including hebes, hostas, heucheras and ferns.