Contemporary but natural.
Three distinct areas: step out from bar onto partially-roofed patio area, rockery and planted lawn area with seating that is movable but heavy enough to stump destructive drunk students; move through to large lawn area suitable for marquees for large events, or lying in the sun on warm days; further out paths lead off to lordship campus or towards the car park and wooded area, or across the stream to the weeping willow and bog planting, and bulbs in the spring.
Spring colour: Alliums and spring bulbs, blossom. Autum colour: Muhlenbergia capillaris. Winter colour: Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’.
Juxtaposition of different textures, sizes and shapes – for example, the weeping willow with its cascading downwards movement contrasted with the upwards-reaching of the eucalyptus – they are seen ‘next’ to each other when viewed from the patio.
Architectural planting: Alliums, weeping willow and clumping bamboos – Fargesia dracocephala ‘Rufa’ and F. robusta.
Dappled shade in late spring/early summer: Eucalyptus gunnii and Betula pendula (allowing sun in winter)
Auditory: bamboos and eucalyptus.
Fragrant rockery plants and blossom.
Patio made from octagonal paving modules – permeable as not fully interlocking. Would perhaps use a permeable filler in the gaps otherwise stiletto heels might get stuck.
Trellis along top of bar building to soften the facade.
Lighting: uplighting into trees to highlight form, size and texture at night. Appropriate colours for lights would need to be considered so as not to clash with the colours of the trunks and leaves. Spot lighting down from underside of overhanging roof. Possibility of small lamps at ground level along edge of patio and path to mark out edge. All lighting would be with solar energy in keeping with the brief’s guide for sustainability.
Exploring the model has really helped me to imagine the experience of being in the garden that I have designed, and the moods of each part of the garden are much closer to being tangible. Having seen the model, I am glad that I didn’t give in to the temptation simply to fill spaces that don’t have a great deal in them. I feel that the open spaces could be quite successful in encouraging relaxation in users of the garden. As with the section elevations, the model serves in great part to demonstrate the importance of the trees in the design. They provide a verticality that would otherwise be in short supply. They are not symmetrical through any possible line of reflection, but neither are they placed at random. Each tree stands exactly where it is needed. For example, the weeping willow by the stream provides a focal point that draws attention from people in all three sections of the garden, and thus will hopefully draw them through each section as well. The trees in the marquee garden act as a permeable boundary and offer some shade in the summer as well as a frame for a marquee. The eucalyptus and silver birch on the small lawn offer a dappled shade in the spring and summer whilst allowing the sun to warm people in the winter. The tree beside the rockery acts as a partial frame to draw people through to the marquee garden, and partly to provide the sight and smell of spring blossom.
These section elevations show the importance of the trees in the planting for the garden. Evergreen trees provide year-long texture, form and colour and fragrance, and deciduous trees ensure seasonal variety, changing their colour, texture, fragrance and solidity of appearance. A variety of species encourages a greater biodiversity, and is more ecologically sustainable. From certain vantage points, including from the patio by the bar exit there is a juxtaposition of textures – coarse alongside fine; sizes – large and small; shapes – e.g. round beside conical or pyramidal; and gestures – e.g. cascading next to upreaching. Although the trees are planted asymmetrically, there is a certain balance achieved in the way they are grouped from each vantagepoint. The visual weight is equal on either side of each axis, and factors such as texture, size and shape are varied but harmonised – for example, seen from the patio, there is one large pyramidal fir tree on the right, and two smaller conical fir trees towards the left.
I have created these designs to use as templates for my section elevations. I have chosen a variety of forms, textures and sizes to create interest through juxtaposition of dissimilar types.
I used some tree forms on the following website for inspiration: