The clock stopped over 30 years ago for this Surrey manor garden. And all designer Robin Templar Williams and colleagues had to go on when they set about renovating the landscape was the faint outline of a few original garden features obtained from a Google Earth image.
The 1.2ha site was an abandoned garden, left derelict since the late 1970s, and the brief was to restore the area loosely based on the geometry of the original paths and terraces. The design and working plans of what was to follow took two years to draw up and 17 months to build.
One of the biggest challenges was the grading and type of soil on the site, which involved the removal of over 4,000cu m of clay and the importing 1,600 tonnes of topsoil. The designs were detailed and precise and involved a new lily pond with rill.
Two oak pergolas, a natural pond with jetty, rose and herbaceous gardens were interspersed with paved terraces and steps, pop-up irrigation, fencing and nearly 100 new mature trees. Lower-level cover came from 6,500 shrubs, grasses and perennials and 5,500 bulbs.
The shopping list went on: 39,000 bricks, 700 concrete blocks, 220cu m of compost; 166 tonnes of gravel, 570sq m of York paving and 4,700sq m of turf. The heavy clay soil proved difficult to drain, so more than 1,800m of piping was trenched into the landscape and fed into the pond or boundary ditch.
Intricacy of craftsmanship matched the intricacy of landscape design, and building the pergolas involved using small pieces of laminated oak. The lily pond, meanwhile, was sealed with a grey umber fibreglass lining to give a milky-blue, glacial effect to the water.
One of the final touches, the restoration of a ha-ha, rounded off "a beautiful family garden, lovingly renovated to an exceptional standard," says Arun Landscapes managing director James Steele-Sargent.
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The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is the trade association for the UK gardening industry. It is dedicated to helping develop the industry and its member businesses.
The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) represents landscapers who meet a required standard of professionalism. Members of the association are registered with the government-endorsed TrustMark Scheme.