The client wanted a wild garden, a place to relax and be inspired by nature. Her studio, albeit industrial in nature, had great potential to connect to the wider landscape while creating a nestled corner for bees and butterflies. This was more a case of sculpting the land with an idea in mind, rather than developing a detailed design on paper. Together with the client, we developed the idea from which we costed and quoted the works.
Some of the ideas we brought to this project included creating a turf bench from which, looking across the natural pool, we opened up a view through to the landscape beyond. A place to sit and be quiet, to ponder the here and now, but also to look to the distance and contemplate the journey beyond – perhaps!?
The mound of earth, the sleepers and the pool were already there, however the natural landscape has a softer more weathered feel to it. So we set about with rotavator, tiller and rake smoothing the mound, creating a sculpted but softer form, cutting the bank back behind the sleepers to form the base for a turf bench.
Having sculpted the banks we then laid wildflower turf onto the slopes. It is important to understand what wild garden flowers need in terms of soil. They need a low nutrient situation, typical of years and years of grazing by deer, sheep and cattle so on the mound we used very poor soil and where there was to be normal grass we used loam compost. Meadow Mat provides a great opportunity to be able to pin the sods to the embankment, as the wildflowers are sown into a fibrous mat. Using rabbit pins the turf was effectively nailed to the banks, not an easy job given the mats weigh about 20kg each.
You can see the difference here given a few weeks and a bit of rain, such a vibrant mix of flowers full of bees, hoverflies and butterflies. We certainly achieved what we set out to do, bringing life to a once barren industrial backyard.