Manor, Oxfordshire

We have been involved in the renovation of these gardens for the last five years. The work has evolved slowly, in order to experience how each newly defined space works in relation to the house, its occupants, the rest of the gardens and the surrounding environment.

The design has been focused on finding low maintenance, practical and visually stimulating features, which embrace the client’s passion for topiary and the scale of the house.  Together with the client, we felt that more mature plants were needed, with greater presence and form, in order to frame the house, match the beauty of its facade, and provide a sense of balance between the gardens and architecture.

We then helped the client to enhance the existing avenue of mature Irish yew, that provides the main view from the house out into the garden. The deep herbaceous borders were removed and were replaced with a simple inner avenue of 10 x 2.5m diameter box domes, headed by two large Portuguese mushrooms laurel topiaries, all of which contrast well with the upright form and dark green of the Irish yew. 



    Over the last five years, it has become apparent that the Irish yew have started to decline and shed branches, losing their form and vigour. They have no long term potential in this semi formal garden setting and so a decision has been made that we will replace these with an avenue of 5-6m tall evergreen oaks, clipped into a cylinder form.

    Other areas of the gardens we have worked on, include enclosing and screening a shady garden section viewed from the kitchen terrace. The area comprises mature false acacias set into a lawn with enclosing walls and a set of mature ornamental pleached pears set in borders comprising randomly placed Buxus domes amongst ferns and hostas, set against the red brick wall with a very mature Japanese holly bonsai. We have also helped to renovate the orchard, by including flowering cherry trees to bring a spring and autumn interest to the area and have recently started to lift a dark shaded boundary corner with Japanese maples.