Since Christmas I have been working with clients near Sevenoaks who are transforming their out dated house into a large modern eco home. It will have a new insulating skin added and be semi-clad in wood, with lots of large glass doors looking out onto the garden and even a green roof on the garage. I'm sure it would have been easier to knock the old house down and start again but it's ecologically kinder to work with the house that is currently there.
Although it doesn't look like it from the photos, the house is situated in a rather lovely garden with lots of mature specimen shrubs and a large woodland area which is full of bluebells in the spring. However the existing layout needs reshaping to define the different areas of the garden, and a more seamless transition required from the hard square shapes of the house out into the softer curves of the garden and woodland beyond.
It has been a really interesting process so far, working with a mixture of what is currently in existence along with the architect's drawings to imagine what the house will look like once it is finished, and just as importantly what the new views out in to the garden will be.
As it's a large garden and the clients already spend a lot of time working in it at weekends, the brief was to keep any new areas as low maintenance as possible. The clients love Japanese gardens so the front area will be kept simple to complement the new modern frontage, with a lawn, two Acers planted in gravel either side of a simple, bespoke gate based on a Japanese Torii gate, as well as large boulders, box balls and grasses planted under and around the surrounding trees.
The drive will be moved and a new garden area created.
An impression of the view from the front door down to the gate.
Other features in the design include installing a gabion wall to create a new level lawn area, a large modern patio for entertaining at the back of the house, which is to have seamless level entry into the house, and a new wildlife pond.
The back of the house will have a new patio and large lawn with the planting disguising the irregular shape of the garden.
The side of the house will be excavated to create a circular lawn with a curved gabion wall.
The concept plan of the new garden design.
As always there are some challenges to be overcome such as the site sloping from left to right as well as from front to back and working with the numerous tree root zones so the trees don't get damaged when soil is excavated.
Now the concept has been approved the final design, construction details and specifications will be drawn up. The house is due to be finished this summer and the garden will be built in stages so I will post photos of its development as it happens......