Changes of pace, light and shade, atmosphere etc are tremendously important within gardens.

Both to give a feel of variety, answer your moods and develop the space.

It is also important for you to be able to achieve functionality within the garden and move around it easily as you choose.

This garden feature, seen a few weeks ago, achieves both these goals.

It is a flight of steps between two levels.

The lower approach is shielded by a large fig: 

The steps are covered by a canopyof Cotoneaster. A grey leaved cotoneaster.

So that from above you enter as though into a tunnel:

I can’t imagine it was organised like this and suspect that two lines of Cotoneaster hedge have with time met overhead.

Sometimes design develops rather than is imposed.

And when it does, and is successful, it is beholden on us to recognise what has happened and appreciate it:


It is of course a place of sculptural beauty.

But what you experience is also a distinct change of pace, temperature, light and atmosphere.

Stairs can, according to your temperament, make you plod or run. Maybe it depends on age and mood!

If I were a kid I’d fly up and down here.

It was cool. If I gardened here I would for sure linger here on my travels on broiling hot days.

Even sit on a cold step with a flask of iced tea to draw breath. 

It was dark and enclosed. Blessed relief from the glare outside:

But the canopy makes this brilliant short cut between levels into something else altogether.

It becomes supercharged:

The bogeyman would really come to get you here!

Children, who adore the odd frisson of fear, would love it.

But I am not sure that I would come here on a dark night.

No this would not be a place to linger then.

A cool passageway which really enhances the going.