Bracken House and Selston Common Grasslands
Location: Portland Road, Selston, Nottinghamshire, England. | Latitude: 53.070650. Longitude: -1.293270. | Altitude: 485 feet.

The Landscaping Project (1)

Before the project

When we moved into the property in October 2008, the formal gardens were fairly small in relation to the amount of land we owned. There was a lawned area to the rear behind a sunken garden which lay directly in front of the lounge patio doors. The lawn was surrounded by a ricketty trellis fence. The view from the lounge was of grey breeze block walls which surrounded the rear garden. Not a pretty sight. Down the side of the house was an unsightly gravel path which led from the road down to the stables. The gravel served to hide a worn and crumbling tarmac drive underneath.

After an aborted attempt at creating a vegetable patch on the land beyond the gravel path, I decided that creating the gardens that I wanted was too big a task for me. Even doing a little each year, which was my original plan, would have been beyond me, so I decided to get professional help.

I employed the services of Brookhill Landscapes Limited, a garden design company based in Arnold, Nottingham. After discussions regarding what I would like in the new gardens, Brookhill's owner Kevin Straw came up with a design which was to see all of the existing gardens, back and front, ripped up and replaced with new gardens at a cost in excess of £100,000. This new design would open up the rear of the property and remove all the barriers that made the garden appear so small.

The rear garden showing the sunken garden
The rear garden photographed on August 26th 2009 showing the sunken garden and the breeze block walls.

Snowy view of the rear garden
This snowy view of the rear gardens was taken on February 3rd 2009. The fence in the foreground surrounds the lawn.
Note the breeze block archway leading from the patio to the lawned area.

The front garden wasn't left out of the plans and this area too was set to be drastically altered and a new tarmac drive constructed. A small flower border was suggested in front of the house with a number of holly trees to create height. This new border would mean that the lawned area would be reduced in size and made circular. The existing tarmac drive was to be replaced with a new one which would create a semi-circular drive providing two accesses onto the property.

The original front garden
The original front garden. Note the pavement edging stones creating the raised garden near to the road.

At the front of the property, a naturalised area was proposed running on the opposite side of the gravel path to the lawn. This would resemble a pit spoil heap with silver birch and fir trees as a reminder of the former colliery that once stood on the site. Obviously this would take several years to develop and mature.

In the overgrown area beyond the gravel path, many native trees were to be planted, consisting of apple, pear, plum, field maple, oak, rowan, cherry and damson. This area would be developed into a wildflower meadow, another project that would take several years to mature. Native bulbs were to be planted, including wild daffodills, bluebells, snowdrops and wild garlic.

A wildlife pond was to be constructed in the overgrown area beyond the gravel drive with decking connecting the pond to the patio. A car park was to be constructed at the foot of the driveway. A vegetable plot of raised beds was to be constructed beyond the stable block, with a new paddock area around the stables.

Work in progress >>