An Island Garden for a Moated Property in Ramsden Heath, Essex

Our clients had embarked upon a major Grade 1 property restoration project for a moated home set in some 16 acres of countryside in Ramsden Heath, Essex.

The moat had also been classified as an Ancient Monument by English Heritage and was in need of serious restoration, not holding water in the summer months, heavily silted, with overgrown banks and trees, and shrubs growing though its floor.

We were invited to prioritise the design of the ‘island’ on which the house stands. This ‘garden’ was in poor condition in every respect, but did include a swimming pool which, once restored, would become a major feature for family leisure.

Several design meetings led to approval and agreement to a garden budget and we set to work around the builders, preparing the ground to receive its new surfaces and plants. The clients chose an antiqued Indian Sandstone for the paths and terrace and Ivory Travertine for the pool surround, both of which complemented the age of the property whilst keeping costs to a sensible level. We recommended hand painted trellis panels to screen the pool area made by The Garden Trellis Company, which blends in so well with the setting.

Once complete, low level lighting and semi-automated irrigation was installed – the latter to ease maintenance and ensure development and protection of the plant investment.

A proposal then needed to be developed for English Heritage, so that approval could be obtained and a licence granted for the restoration of the moat.

Our proposal was well received and, working alongside archaeologists and an ecological company who had secured a ‘newt licence’, the moat was cleaned, lined with Bentomat (volcanic clay matting) dressed with clay based soil, filled and planted. Newts have returned in far larger number this season – so they approve!

The addition of a filtration and pumping system keeps the water clear and the finishing touch of a hand made ‘Monet Style’ oak bridge has transformed a very unattractive and quite smelly blot into a feature which provides all year round interest and an attractive boundary to a lovely garden. For safety, and to preserve the views, the client chose traditional steel estate fencing, made to order by one of our regular suppliers.

With building and garden work complete, we were then instructed to resurface driveways and courtyard and install automated gates for both aesthetics and security.

“We simply love our new garden. Please feel free to bring any prospective client to have a walkabout and to admire your team’s handiwork.”

View the design drawing for this project in detail here

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