Sussex Society article
landscaping services, Landscape Design, water features
People stop in their cars to photograph a rather startling black-and-white modern house in Seaford, which stands out among its more conventional neighbours.
As the house was being built between 2012 and 2013, award-winning garden designer Barry Holdsworth was commissioned to landscape its front and back gardens.
He first saw the site when the original bungalow was still standing, surrounded by an overgrown garden, and after viewing the architect's plans for the house, produced 3D images of how he envisaged an entirely new garden.
“The house was a bit of a Grand Designs project,” says Barry, whose design consultancy is based in Battle. “The owner wanted a garden design that complemented the house in both the back and front gardens, and he was able to see exactly what I had in mind with the 3D visuals I produced.
“I was able to take some of the features from the house and reflect them in the garden design. For example, in the back garden, for the hard landscaping we used concrete blocks rendered to match the walls of the house, and on top of the walls the coping is granite in light and dark greys to complement the building. The coping is 'bullnosed', or curved, to round off the edges for a more finished feel.”
Barry used the same stone for the top of the two aluminium water tanks that flank a large round stone planter featuring a dwarf conifer. Above the conifer is a mirror framed by a bespoke geometric laser-cut aluminium design. Its bright green reflection of the grass can be enjoyed from the seating area, its straight lines following the geometric lines of the house.
On one exterior wall of the house, opposite the raised border on the front drive, which runs the length of the grass, is a stunning wall sculpture designed by Barry.
“It had been a stretch of empty wall,” he explains. “I said that a feature needed to be made for that space and so I designed a piece of wall art five metres long to complement the house. It is made from aluminium and has a depth of a few inches, and while it is painted in black and white, like the house, the sides are painted differently using two tones to create shadows and produce a 3D effect.”
The grass rises up as it follows the length of the house, but the far end of the garden is a surprising contrast to the monochrome linear design closer to the house.
Barry has installed 100 square metres of wild flower turf around an orchard of fruit trees including plum, cherry, apple and pear to create a country feel to this part of the garden.
“While wild flower turf can be costly per metre, it is amazing because it has 20 different plants seeded in it, which produces a fabulous array of colour that keeps changing and attracts plenty of insects, birds and wildlife. It only takes six weeks to establish and it's low maintenance too – it only needs cutting once a year.”
The front garden was designed around a large semi-circular driveway, and Barry wanted to create calm but strong planting in the beds. With the wall around the central semi-circular bed consistent with the rendered look of the walls in the back garden, complete with the granite coping, Barry has planted a hedge of Viburnum 'Eve Price' fronted with variegated Hebe for the side borders, with dwarf conifers in the semi-circular bed underplanted with spring and summer bulbs to give an interesting palette.
“It's quite newly planted,” says Barry. “We were building the garden as the house was being finished, so the plants will become more established and fill the spaces beautifully over the next year or two.”
Bespoke garden features
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