Woodland Garden

Canford Cliffs, Dorset

The prospect of transforming a vast yard into a magical garden might seem overwhelming, but there is limitless potential to build up and carve out a multi-layered landscape from a flat site – as this project proves.

At the centre of an expanse of paving had sat a hot tub, and that was it. Used daily, it was an important part of this family’s life – the challenge was to enhance its setting and create a flow of other destinations that could be enjoyed on their own merits.

Bold swathes of wildlife-friendly planting create pinch points in the lawn, while a stepping-stone path leads the eye down the long garden to the summerhouse and woodland wildflower area at the end. Ozmanthus balls connect the planting for a calming rhythm throughout: from the sculptural stone nestled in lavender, grasses and agapanthus outside the kitchen window; past the corten water-bowl feature for birds to drink and bathe; to the integral timber seat of the pond and water wall.

The hot tub now has a home under a covered gazebo nestled amongst planting. From here there is a variety of vistas to enjoy the tranquil form, texture and colour of this garden retreat, and the wildlife that now calls it home too.

Photography by Lucy Shergold.

Wildlife Garden