A listed 18th century barn was converted into a modern ecological home, winning design awards. The garden area had been concrete cattle-yards lying adjacent to the farm land. The new garden needed to provide an anchor for the house and a frontispiece to the surrounding countryside.
A ha-ha (sunken wall in a ditch) was built as an invisible boundary that preserves the full impact of the wonderful views to the old church and the Chiltern Hills in the distance. At the same time, sheltered areas for eating and lounging were created. The garden was designed by Dale & Heybrook Garden Designers for low maintenance with much of the planting in shingle. For a relaxed and natural look, self-seeding plants are allowed to dot themselves about. Traditional park fencing delineates the back garden. Reclaimed York stone slabs have been carefully laid to look as if they have always been there, even though the garden was created 6 months earlier. Thymes, sages and catmint soften the hard landscaping and attract butterflies.