How to Design a Large Banked Garden

Here is a large garden with enough space to permit the use of banks rather than walls for terracing. The paved area around the house is supported by a substantial retaining wall which would have to be built to a structural engineer’s specification because it is so close to the house. The garden is, in fact, almost level in this area anyway, so there should be no difficulties with levels at either end of this paving. An area immediately in front of this wall has been cut out of the slope to produce a flat area, with a bank on either side and steps coming down from the upper paving. The area of paving at the foot of the steps is obviously level and flush with the lawn.

The pond, which has been partly formed by curving the retaining wall in towards the house, could have some form of fountain or cascade, perhaps a tradiĀ­tional lion’s head spouting water into the pool below. The fact that the wall is curved would help to accentuate the sound of moving water. If a larger area of paving is needed, then the paving next to this pool could easily be extended further into the lawn.

Large  Garden

As the lawn stretches towards the end of the plot, it changes from ‘cut’ to ‘fill’, but with the exception of the central steps, all the resulting level changes are dealt with by mostly grass banks. In this garden the slopes of the banks are quite gentle. So too are the steps, with the tread at the top and bottom flush with the lawn. Either side of these steps are two low flanking walls. Under different circumstances, especially if the steps are set well into the bank, grass could simply spill down onto the end of each step without any walling. This would make mowing a little more difficult and a strimmer very useful here. The bottom lawn has not been levelled so it will slope gently away into a border of trees and shrubs. Generally I do not like trees in a lawn because they complicate mowing, but in large gardens one or two specimen trees can be a very effective feature in a lawn. Perhaps Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’ would be a good choice for this particular lawn. Mowing in this garden is going to be easy anyway and a hover type mower would be almost essential for the banks and the one or two awkward corners.

With the paved areas all basking in sunshine for most of the day, the seat beside the lower lawn would, with help from a nearby tree, be somewhere nice and cool to sit. This layout is for anyone who wants a relaxing and easy to mainĀ­tain garden: no fruit or vegetables and no greenhouse, just trees, shrubs, grass and paving.

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About the Author: Greenery always attracts Arthur Kunkle. He has a big garden where he plants many fruits and vegetables. His passion for gardening motivates him to write and share different tips on gardening.

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