Devon Garden Design near Exeter City Centre


Read the client's comment about the design

The success of these contemporary, small, urban garden designs for a small 98 sq metre garden only 8 minutes walk from Exeter  centre is largely due to the detailed survey carried out by the designer. The accurate survey enabled distinctive designs creating imaginative gardens interwoven to create a dynamic and usable outdoor living space.

The house is in a section of a unique brick built property development, all parts of which are circular in shape. The small house unit within the large overall unit's space shapes formed between objects were helped by borrowing the overall house roof height gutter level (best seen in photograph 4 down from the top of the page, located 3 units left of this house unit, also seen in 2 other photographs illustrated viewed from the summerhouse outside seating area) for this individual garden design's spatial awareness space shapes, required to avoid overcrowding objects closely placed together, like two rose arches that contribute height, an arbour also contributes height and a large high summer house, all fulfil the function to lift the garden spatial awareness skywards taking in more space volume room with individual structures. All space shapes have to be part of the design. Like sculpture and architecture. Cross axis viewpoints include two mirrors to further enlarge the garden's visual size. My ability to think 3 dimensionally, as the house is tall, vertical elements were an important consideration. Two rose arches, an arbour, and a summerhouse fulfil the function to lift the garden skywards.

The design dynamics include a tension point between the round house and the circular brick edged lawn, a retaining wall, an adjoining path, and a flower bed. All the boundaries, except the brick walls, are panelled with 2m high, black stained, diagonal wood trellis, which are backed onto existing woven reed matting attached, with a 100mm gap, to the property fence.

Two areas of Indian sandstone paving were laid, with garden lighting for evening use in this distinctive, imaginative, practical garden. The lights also enhance plants in clay pots set on gravel around the lawn perimeter. The planting is of mostly of sun-loving Mediterranean type herb plants, and has included a new crab apple tree.

The garden design also includes two wooden benches and a stone bench, and two separate water features were installed at appropriate points. The garden is a suntrap, so a large parasol (with a granite base to hold it steady and safe) was essential for shade.

What the client says:

Having a small plot in the heart of St Leonards we were keen to extract every last drop of potential from the space available. Instead of the drab and boring piece of grass with some straggly shrubs around the edge we now have a mediteranean terrace, a well stocked herb garden for the kitchen, a lawn with its own country cottage arch and arbour, a Japanese Zen garden with bubbling fountain, a winding cottage style path and to cap it all a modern and chick urban garden 'dining room' with its own summer house for when the evenings get a little cold. Our small boring garden has been transformed into six gardens all with their own views and perspectives which all work seamlessly together to form one harmonious outside living space which is a true extension of our home. We could not have wished for a better outcome when we first sat down with Hugh in our kitchen on a cold and wet winters night late last year to discuss what we could do with a small urban plot.

The garden just after planting

Eye Catcher

One Year Later

Arbour & Rose Arches

Tension point between lawn & house

Urban garden dining room


main view

the garden at night

Design cost £1,500

Build cost £15,000

These design ideas are ideal for small London gardens Hugh has examples in his portfolio.


Left: the garden before, right: the summerhouse

the garden beforethe summerhouse

One Year Later

The Garden Plan

planting plan When garden designing in 2 dimensional drawing on the board the designer thinking walks through the landscape form recording 3 dimension images in mind. Some images have shape similarities developed between structures and ground level changes, also uprights that bend back dropping down to the ground plain. Placed objects pots and clay balls further the theme.

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