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THE PROBLEM: a 2m drop from house to lawn

and the wrong layout for entertaining

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Garden area: 1.5 acres

This Sussex country garden is wide but shallow with a 2m height difference between kitchen level and lawn. There are long vistas over meadow and woodland from the kitchen so the clients wanted a terrace at that level, but were not sure how to manage the tricky drop between terrace and lawn.


They asked for a trio of concept drawings addressing the problem of the levels in different ways.  Each design concept includes the client's requirements for a generous eating terrace at the kitchen level and separate lounging area, and incorporates the existing high retaining wall to avoid unnecessary extra expense.  Each brings planting areas into the design.  Apart from that they offer different shapes, functions, and layouts which tie in with an altered front garden layout and side access, and are a catalyst for further thought by the clients about what they want and need.

Option 1


A rectangular layout with wide steps,a second mid level seating area and sloping lawns. The approach from the driveway (visible through the kitchen window) is through a small vegetable garden. This design is most closely aligned with the original retaining wall and steps


Option 2


An octagonal layout with a decked area around a wildlife pond, a more open feel and, in keeping with the wilder theme, long grass and wildflowers surrounding the seating areas. The approach is through planted areas overlooked by a small bench


Option 3


A curving layout with a cosy fire pit at the base of the wall as a relaxing additional space to enjoy the sunset. The curving steps blend into the lawn and offer a more unexpected route from house to garden, encouraging a sweeping look at the plot on the journey down.

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