Restoration and renovation in Bath, UK aka ‘Jane Austen land.’

We are mostly asked to design or redesign gardens, in a way which usually changes the hard landscape features quite dramatically.

In this case, we were quite clear from the start that this would not be the case, although the resulting changes were in another sense structural.

The clients quite definitely knew their minds.

 They were so organised that we were hired before they had even bought the gracious Grade 11 listed Georgian property.

What they wanted was for the existing hard landscape to be revealed. We visited for a consultation the week after they moved in. And our site assessment and following report completely agreed with them.

Whereas the previous occupants had had high security and privacy requirements, the new owners wanted the feng shui of removal and revelation. Electric gates and cameras were one thing. A Leyland hedge which had sprouted into a 25 foot linear forest was quite another.

Even within the boundary line evergreens were an all encompassing shroud. The garden felt claustrophobic – like this….

 ….. and this is how it looked after clearance:

The brief was:

To conceptualise

Draw up clearance and felling lists.

Repair any deterioration in the structure, water features etc, rebuild where necessary and organise lighting

To produce a report listing the plants to achieve the various looks

Where necessary to draw up planting plans

Liaise with any authorities – vital in a sensitive Conservation Area.

Source and monitor contractors.

Position the plants.

While we planned and managed the project for the entire garden this post concentrates on the ‘Pool Garden’


…….. and afterwards

Here selected removals required some brave decisions, The area needed to be to some extent depalmed ( rather than napalmed!!)…

(Not only is the area over congested, but the tiny raised round border in which the Trachycarpus is planted is totally unsuitable for a tree of this size.)

See how much better the space looks when both tree and planting pocket have been removed…

and then the area was to be simply and spaciously styled with Romanesque artefacts. The result is an airy and enlivening raised terrace  

Of course, since Bath is surrounded by glorious rolling hills. opening up the landscape by removal of the massive leyland hedge also revealed  extensive views, which needed to be framed, and privacy of course needed to be retained.

The Romans founded Bath so a small ‘Roman temple garden’ complete with its own tiny altar and authentic plants was a sine qua non. Forgive the latin pun!

The area as it was before….


…. and now, with Roman altar in situ

The clients love Italy and the Italians love their vegetable growing, so the site of the former Leyland forest….

 became an ‘Italian potager’ focussed on a gazebo which the clients selected.


The interface with the rest of the garden needed to be successfully managed, and a romantic border with quintessential English planting was very much the order of the day!

Job done!

Lesley and Robert

Now, do please check out the posts on this subject from our fellow knights of the Garden Designers Round Table:

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Carolyn Gail Choi : Sweet Home and Garden Chicago : Chicago, IL

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Rochelle Greayer : Studio “G” : Boston, MA

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA