See how a hilly garden has been made super easy to manage

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  • Struggling to cope with a sloping, muddy lawn and overgrown borders, the owners transformed their garden into a space that's a pleasure, not a chore

    Sometimes the garden that you’ve enjoyed for years just doesn’t work for you anymore. When the owners grew tired of seeing their dogs’ dirty paw prints on the kitchen floor, traipsed in from their more-mud-than-grass lawn, they knew the time had come to make changes.

    ‘We love gardening, but I was having problems with my eyesight and my wife struggles with her hip,’ says the owner. ‘The single path through the hilly garden made it difficult to get to the overgrown borders, so we decided to seek help from the professionals, hoping that they could make our garden easier to manage.’

    The couple hired a local firm, allocated a budget of £28,000 for the landscaping, materials, electrics and plants, then waited to see what would happen. ‘We gave them a free hand and, three months after their first visit, we had this garden,’ they say. ‘It was incredible.’

    Garden viewed from above IH March Southern p140

    The hands-on work took seven weeks in total and involved removing 50 tonnes of soil and rubble to level the space and create three tiers, like individual rooms, to enjoy at different times of day. Paving and rendered walls define the spaces, while creating raised beds that the owners can easily reach. ‘We love the plants: grasses, lavender, box and hostas,’ they say. ‘They’re easy to look after, but fill the beds beautifully.’

    Raised flower beds IH March Southern p140

    Low-maintenance evergreens and perennials require little attention, and just need a bit of a prune and tidy-up occasionally. Artificial grass has been used for the lawn and is the ultimate easy-care option. It looks really realistic, too.

    Garden seating IH March Southern p140

    Grey fencing provides a modern look that goes perfectly with the rattan furniture, creating the feel of an indoor room that can be enjoyed outdoors.

    Garden patio IH March Southern p140

    No corner of the new design is wasted – this simple wooden bench is tucked between raised beds on the left-hand side of the garden and is the couple’s favourite spot because it catches the morning sun. ‘We’re out here every day at 8.30am, enjoying a cup of coffee together,’ they say.

    Garden bench IH March Southern p140

    Solar lights dotted in the raised beds give mood lighting in the evenings. ‘We hadn’t considered lighting before, but the mix of lamps in the garden means we can now be out here until last thing at night,’ say the owners.

    Garden lighting IH March Southern p140

    The standout addition for the couple is the water feature that draws eyes (and feet) to the end of the garden. ‘The stone used for it is amazing and we can illuminate it with coloured LEDs,’ they say. ‘We had a pond before, but now we can enjoy the sight and sound of water in a modern, easy way. It’s what this garden is all about really.’

    Garden water feature IH March Southern p140

    Shopping list

    Similar rattan-effect chairs and footstools, £350 for a set of two seats and two stools, Argos

    Similar outdoor solar stake lights, £18 for two, John Lewis

    Similar planter, £19.92, Homebase

    Similar lantern, £28, Sainsbury’s

    This garden originally appeared in Ideal Home, March 2017

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