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A new Wildlife Children's garden

By Garden Designer Sarah Layton.  My client, Debbie Hougie, approached me to design a garden for her that would be ecologically friendly as well as fantastically stimulating and fun for her children, Alex and Jacob (aged 5 and 2 1/2).

Debbie has had a lifelong love of nature and ecology having grown up in and around the Yorkshire Dales. Working with her was extra fun as she has colleagues who specialise in such useful subjects as compost making!

The garden already had a large patio of Yorkstone newly built around the house and this left quite a small proportion of the garden (just ten metres by six) for creating this exciting new space. The children's wooden climbing frame also needed incorporating.

Sarah layton garden

Debbie's new garden has a newly planted native hedge (consisting of Crataegus monogyna, Euonymus europaeus, Viburnum opulus, Prunus avium, Rosa canina - dogwood and Sorbus aucuparia) all around its perimeter to offer food and nesting space for birds, insects etc as well as a log-pile for creepy crawlies to reside in.

Sarah layton

Her deck (with bench for comfortable parental supervision) incorporates a sandpit for the children and is constructed from green oak and she has five raised beds (also in oak) for growing vegetables such as Sweet corn, potatoes, salad, sweet and edible peas etc.

Saray layton

The most exciting element however is a living willow structure created on site by willow artist Barbara Clift. The structure includes a dome shaped hidey space for the children, a tunnel to reach this space and a colonnade designed for weaving in and out.

Sarah layton garden

Focus planting includes a three stemmed Betula jacquemontii for winter stem interest (and birds love to collect its bark for nest building) and a lovely Amelanchier lamarkii for its three season interest of berries, flowers and autumn colour.

Sarah layton

Wildflower plugs suitable for the clay conditions of the garden have been incorporated into the turf at strategic points to soften the climbing frame and vegetable beds for instance and the grass in these areas is being allowed to grow.

The bed planting was designed for all season interest as well as a natural look and plants used include:

Calamagrostis x acutifolia 'Karl Foerster'
Ceratostigma griffithii
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
Nandina domestica
Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price'
Buddleja davidii var 'Nanhoensis'
Alchemilla mollis
Anemone 'Andrea Atkinson'
Bergenia 'Baby Doll'
Campanula portenschlagiana
Carex brunnea 'Variegata'
Cimicifuga 'White Pearl'
Dryopteris wallichiana
Eupatorium 'Atropurpureum'
Epimedium subsp 'Colchicum'
Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum'
Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'
Geranium 'Spinners'
Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
Heuchera 'Greenfinch'
Lamium orvala
Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'
Phlox divaricata 'Blue Paradise'
Phyllostachys aurea
Polystichum setiferum 'Herrenhausen'
Pulmonaria 'Lewis Palmer'
Rodgersia 'Irish Bronze'
Thalictrum delavayi
Verbena bonariensis
Allium sphaerocephalon
Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation'
Clematis armandii 'Apple Blossom'
Clematis cirrhosa 'Freckles'
Clematis orientalis 'Bill Mackenzie'
Clematis cirrhosa var balearica
Clematis 'Lansdowne Gem'
Trachelospermum jasminoides

Designed by Sarah Layton

Other gardens by this designer