Thornlea farm, Derbyshire
Thornlea Farm, Derbyshire
Thornlea farm sits in a small hamlet in the peak district in Derbyshire, in a class 4 area of outstanding natural beauty. The area is subject to strict landscape planning laws, even moving the garden shed from its existing location required a planning application. The field to the rear of the plot was classed as agricultural land and as such could not be rezoned for domestic garden use.
The garden was in a very poor state of neglect and was badly overgrown. A broken wooden fence divided the domestic garden area from the paddock to the end of the garden.
The owners wanted a garden designed in keeping with the surrounding landscape. A number of other designers had visited the site, none of whom returned after the initial visit.
On my first visit, I could see the potential in this unique setting. I already had a vision of how I could use reclaimed local materials, eg the natural local stone for dry stone wall raised beds. Fortunately the owners owned a number of fields with demolished dry stone walls, which we were able to salvage for the raised beds. Reclaimed York stone slabs for paths and terraces were sourced locally.
The seat on the lower terrace was constructed using an old oak beam from the house.
Applications were made for crown lifting to the perimeter trees to the end of the plot in order to draw the surrounding landscape into the scheme.
My solution using the parcel of agricultural land to the end of the garden was to make an application to remove the fence and turn it into a small wild flower meadow and interplant with fruit tress. The conservation officer accepted this.
Initially I wanted to remove the garden shed from the plot but with the clients were adamant that it stayed, so it was moved it to a lower hard standing. A green roof and coat of apple green paint softened its impact.
An extended terrace providing views over the surrounding landscape replaces the sheds original location.
The planting scheme was devised to provide year round interest. Scented climbing roses were planted around the inset seat to this sheltered spot in the garden.
Steps at either end of the garden lead to a perimeter path border planted with evergreen dwarf pines, acena and evergreen hardy geraniums.
Just thought we'd write and tell you that finding you was better than finding the crown jewels!! We can't believe how, with your design, you managed to transform a very steep and difficult "scrubland" to the most fantastic, usable space. We reckon we must have had at least 6 different designers over a period of time to look at the area to be landscaped and without exception, they tutt tutted, scratched their heads and went away, never to be seen again! Until, that is, the day we came across your website. We were most impressed with the site - it looked very professional and when we e-mailed you we never expected anyone to come back to us. But you did, and unlike the other designers (a couple of them well known), you viewed it as a challenge and you certainly came up with the "goods" as it were. Your design incorporated everything on our wish list and more! Your project managing skills were second to none and we will be forever grateful to you for taking our project on.
Your design took care of everything including the long range views to the Peak hills, which we never actually noticed before. As you know, our house is listed and is situated in a hamlet, which is classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty Cat.4 so it was important that the design reflected that aspect. Now that the project has finished and planted up, we can hardly contain our excitement to see the numerous bulbs and plants coming up in the spring. Not only have you transformed the site but your design and planting has also transformed our house and has certainly added that magic to the whole place.
We are eternally grateful to you and your team for the most wonderful design and build anyone could ever wish for! Oh, and not forgetting that great cheeky Irish humour that was thrown in for free!! We feel that not only have we got a beautiful garden now but we also gained a wonderfully warm friend - thank you so much.
With kind regards
John and Elizabeth Windsor