Love your garden: episode three

By The Secret Gardener

It was a delight creating this garden for a family in Canterbury.

There were so many different facets to the garden; it made it a really interesting project to work on.

It’s one of the few times we have created a ‘wrap-around’ garden that goes all the way around the outside of the house.

So often we expect a front garden, a back garden, and some kind of side path. So it was great to work on a garden that completely encapsulated the house.

For this space we used lots of different surfaces. It’s not always ideal to use paving all the way around the house but paving can actually blend quite comfortably into other surfaces like decking, lawn, borders and water too – when it is well thought out.

The key is to have the various aspects proportioned in size. There’s nothing worse than a garden that lacks the right balance in its elements. Using different flooring surfaces gives you the opportunity to change the levels where they meet, and this adds bags of character to the design.


The other thing that made this garden really dynamic is the huge water feature we built. Water is a wonderful addition to any garden. Other than standard ponds, some people create long streams like we did, or even wall fountains. It will almost always be accomplished using a self-returning reservoir where water is pumped through from a deeper section back to a higher section.

What we did here is create a stream effect with a series of pumps keeping the water moving. If you haven’t got a large garden you can still have a little water feature that sits upon itself. Old oak barrels have often been turned into water features with a little fountain put in.



In addition to that we put in a summerhouse. Garden buildings are becoming a more important part of people’s lives, and each episode we look at different ways of doing it.

The one in this episode was so vivid and beautifully crafted and it complimented the garden beautifully. The stencilling that Frances did on the paving beneath the summerhouse showed that you can actually adapt paving to work with any pattern or colour that you like.


In this episode we were greatly helped out by the volunteer fire service. These are ex-firemen who travel the world and help out whenever there are disasters, and this group of lads really went the distance in helping us get the job done. 

Here’s a long shot of the garden to show you the amount of work going on - with cement, compost, tools, plants and people everywhere. There are times on every shoot when you look around and wonder if it will ever get finished but it always comes together in the end.

Plants are key in all of our gardens and we work hard to get all of the plants looking their best. Some nurseries deliver plants that are not quite in flower but that’s no good for us because we need the plants to look spectacular when the families come home.

It’s not all about the back garden though. Here we are at the front of the house where the deliveries just kept coming and coming and coming. We do have to keep a measure of control to make sure that it doesn’t get too congested on the street.

Here you can see there are cameramen wherever you look on the shoot, always ready to catch the action - whether things are going right or not!

It’s quite a humbling and special moment to see the garden in its completed state as we all wait to see what the family think.

We had an incredible time making this garden and there are more behind the scenes blogs to come each week!


Meet the author

The Secret Gardener

The Secret Gardener is an award-winning landscaper, specialising in bringing colour and ambience to any space.

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