Designing gardens with the house centre stage

House and garden design centre of focus kent sussex

September 30, 2019

Designing gardens with the house centre stage

At Dewlands Garden Design, we love to make your house the centre of focus for your garden so that it works seamlessly with the surrounding domain for a picture-perfect view. When we design your garden, there’s a lot we can’t change – the house is where it is, and the garden plot is what it is – but we labour to make them work harmoniously together so that your house is framed beautifully by your garden space.

Garden design to frame your house

One of the key things we aim to achieve in a garden design is framing the house with your outdoor space. That means accentuating the focal points of your property to create beautiful vistas and views, drawing the eye away from the less inviting spaces – such as where you keep the bins. This all goes to improving the first impressions of your home, so when people come to visit, their immediate thought is “Wow!”.

Designing the approach to your house from your garden

When we think about framing the house as part of the garden design, the first thing to consider is the approach to the property. We consider what people will see when they drive up: the views they get, where the eye is drawn, what is it you want them to see and what you don’t want them to see by breaking up outlines, distracting the eye and framing the more beautiful aspects.

The two main things you want to make clear is where the front door is and where you park the car. Particularly with big houses, arranging your car parking is important so your driveway remains orderly but doesn’t look like a car park, so the approach to the house needs to be thought through and designed.

Garden design in practise

“One project I’m working on has a lovely house but there’s one part which isn’t very nice to look at – and the client knows it!” comments Eugene Hill, founder of Dewlands Garden Design. “So, as you come up their drive, at the moment there’s a lovely five-year-old copper beach; it’s going to become a beautiful big tree one day, but it’s in completely the wrong place. The tree sits directly in front of the bit of the house you want to see and it forces your eye to the dull parking area and an ugly part of the corner extension.

“As a garden designer, I know that tree has got to be shifted so it subtly sits in front of where the ugly extension is to reveal the beautiful front of the house. Our planting will then aim to accentuate the vista or view at the front of the house. We’ll put in some raised evergreen planting either side of the drive to guide you to the obvious parking area, framed beautifully by the trees and planting.

“This is also true for smaller properties; if the entrance is on the side of the house, perhaps in the alley between the garage, we’ll make sure the planting and structures are framing, guiding and directing your visitors to the front door. If the postcode lottery lady can’t find your front door, you’ll be very disappointed – and that win could buy a lot of garden design!”

Scaling down to human size

The second thing we think about when using the garden to frame your house beautifully is how your property sits in its site. Most houses from floor to eaves are between five and six metres tall; most humans are around one and a half to two metres tall – and that’s a big difference. When we go into a garden and look back at the house, we think about what structures and planting we need in order to bridge that gap.

For example, if you have a five-metre-tall house, we might place a structure that’s two-and-a-half metres tall next to the wall; that way, we’ve halved the height and brought it down to a more human scale. A standard house has a ceiling of about two-and-a-half metres, so we aim to create the same natural feeling of comfort that a ceiling brings with plants or timber structures.

Delivering human scale in our designs

One Bromley-based client of Dewlands Garden Design has a tall rear extension composed of two overlapping squares. We’ve infilled the space between the outcropping triangles of the extension with a timber pergola so as you step out of the extension you move under the archways of the pergola. This gives the tall, narrow structure a base, allowing the property to settle into its site and give it a human scale.

Now, when you exit and look upon the site you don’t have the feeling of standing on a desert plain with a huge, high cliff next to you, feeling like a great big eagle is going to swoop down on you; it removes that feeling of exposure and creates more comfort.

Structured planting within garden design

Framing the house can also be achieved with structured planting.  This is especially important in the countryside, where a lack of planting structure can look alien as there is nothing to blend the garden into  the surrounding landscape. Our designs create views back into the property that welcome you and makes you want to enjoy the space and sit in the environment. For example, soft, colourful flowers offset by more rigid, green hedges can be a great way to add this blending effect as your eyes move to and from the house.

Creating a garden that wows people on their first impression is one of our garden design goals. Dewlands Garden Design let the house take centre stage and build a garden which creates views and vistas which draw the eye.

To discuss how our garden designs can add value to your home

call 01892 577371 

or send us an email using our online form. 

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:  

Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill  

Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex  

Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.   

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.
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