It’s often the obstacles that we need to navigate that generate the most interesting briefs. When we were asked to view the garden of a client who wasn’t at the property half the year, had a garden that was a small urban plot and that had a ugly dominant shed that had to stay because it had just been bought an installed, I knew this was going to be a challenge.
Then I met the lovely client that told me more about what he needed and why, and I understood better… The brief stated that the garden had to be extremely low maintenance, neat, clean lines, minimal planting and above all the shed had to stay! I normally prefer to use lots of planting as this is my passion, with every opportunity to integrate or hide the everyday utility elements that gardens need to accommodate. There’s no point pretending we don’t need to keep bins etc, it must work practically, but I’d normally try to integrate this and make things like that disappear.
This shed needed to stay, be in full view, but now it also needed to be made to look attractive in order that a low maintenance garden can sit around it. After weeks of soul searching, we came up with the idea of creating a structure that looked like a ‘tea house’, complete with shoji screens (sliding doors) to sit over the ugly shed. This instantly lent itself to the other principles of Japanese gardening, of simplicity, and clean lines and clear intentions.
Never judge a shed by its cover, because with a bit of imagination and a lot of structural planning, everything can be made good in the end!
Project Manager: Mark Holman