Before and after

Upper garden

When we arrived in March 1982 the garden had a 6 ft fence on one side and shade from large trees on two neighbouring sides.  The ground was hard due to clay soil and was neutral to slightly acid, even though we back onto Walsall Arboretum with its lake that was once a lime pit. 

Some of the York stone paths were broken up and distorted by tree roots.  A number of York stone rocks were completely submerged in soil. 

In the upper garden there were many large, quite rapid growing, dark green conifers and the large Picea conifers in the centre of this photo were losing their needles because of red spider mite. The lawn was square and shaded and had a low, decorative wall on its nearest side to the house.

We removed the trees and decorative wall, extended the paving and curved the lawn edges.

This area is now semi-formal and the lawn provides a great social space. Acers, conifers and evergreen shrubs provide a backdrop for azaleas in spring and begonias in containers in summer. In autumn the acer leaves provide a stunning display of colours.

Upper garden - house view

 The house was very solidly built in 1928 and inspired by the Arts and Crafts style. The exterior rendering is Welsh granite chippings. 

 Unfortunately, modifications over the years, namely the filling in of a balcony and replacement of a window, meant that the rendering did not match well with the original. Rather than paint the damaged granite rendering, we decided to grow climbers - Wisteria and Virginia Creeper - to disguise the imperfections. 

The Wisteria, with is blue flowers, is stunning in May and the Wisteria colours up beautifully in late September.

Middle garden

In the middle garden there were 16 overgrown fruit trees, only one of which bore tasty fruit. We had tried to re-landscape around the trees, but eventually decided to remove them all.

The oriental pagoda is now a key feature in this middle garden area and a small streams gives an added dimension. A jungle, with palms, bamboos, banana and phormium, creates a tropical atmosphere.


Lower garden

Access to the lower garden was via stepping stones and there was evidence that this had once been a vegetable plot. There was a glass greenhouse with a concrete base. We made the area child-friendly , levelling it and grassing it over and removing the greenhouse. A chalet store doubled as a wendy house.

With shade from the large decidous trees in the neighbouring Walsall Arboretum, this area is more woodland-like. Perennials A large stream is now a key feature in the lower garden.