SAM McGOWAN - GARDEN DESIGN IN SCOTLAND        
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Dunblane
Howgate
Langbank
Loch Tay
Penicuik

BeforeCurrent

Description of site:

The site is the field to the West of the existing garden. The site slopes down steeply from the South and is largely rough pastureland which has been previously grazed by sheep and cattle. Part of it closer to the house, known as the paddock, has been disturbed by machinery and has some piles of rubble left from earlier construction close to the house. The total area of the site under consideration is approximately 2600m2.

The site faces North with good views out across the Clyde to Dunbartonshire and the hills beyond.

Drainage was a major problem. The underlying rock is volcanic and largely impervious to water but naturally-occurring fissures trap water which then issues at lower levels. Some attempt at improving drainage had proved largely unsuccessful. Soil is fairly thin in places with rock outcrops close to the surface. The client had created some rough paths through the site using a strimmer and one part of the works would concern improving the levels of these to allow them to be kept as mown paths using a ride on mower or similar machine. There were some trees and shrubs but the majority of the site was covered in coarse grass with some areas of weed infestation with species such as bracken and thistle.

The client had made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain planning permission for a 3-car garage some 2 years previous. This would have involved a building at the top of the paddock area with a turning circle in front and access via a narrow existing drive (leading to the site of a demolished garage) rising up the slope to the South of the house.

Client's brief:

The client wanted a 'nice landscape to go with a nice garden'. He wanted something along the lines of a country park based on trees and meadow with mown grass paths. The line of these paths had been largely laid out but the surface was uneven and often rutted and they required improvement to give a surface reasonably easy to mow. The question of turning the grassland into a wildflower meadow was discussed but it was pointed out that reducing the fertility of the ground to a level where coarse weeds and rough grasses would no longer predominate would be a major undertaking. Further discussion concluded that the best approach would be a piecemeal one, tackling areas of major weed infestation to eradicate weeds and reseed with a wildflower mix which could act as a seedbank to gradually move naturally into surrounding areas. There were already some wildflowers such as vetches and Achillea on the site.

He wanted a solution to the problem of the garage. Part of this brief would include the siting and general disposition of a possible building for this purpose, along with its associated drive and turning area but would not include the detail of the building itself which would be left to an architect or specialist building firm.  Subsequently a proposal along these lines was rejected by the planning authority and the idea of any sort of building removed from the brief.

Current situation:

The area close to the house has had a drainage system installed and an area seeded as a meadow with tree planting along the edge.  Paths through the rest of the grassland area have been levelled and reseeded.

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Last modified:30th January 2011

Copyright Sam McGowan 2011