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

BeforeAfter

Description of site:

The site was the ground surrounding a newly-built house on south side of Loch Tay.

Site has been inhabited for centuries - Crannog in loch first one?

A tree report had already prepared and a copy passed to Sam McGowan. A topographic survey was also carried out and copies of this were with Sam McGowan and the architect. A copy of this was passed to the client.

The site is generally North facing. Consequently there were potential frost pockets. Wave action from loch was likely to cause problems and a means of dealing with it was of major importance.

There were magnificent views out over the loch from many places. These were partially obscured by trees along water’s edge but these were important for beach stabilisation.

There was an area of species rich grassland. This was in danger of erosion as a result of wave action during winter storms. Urgent action was required to stabilise this.

Beach area beside stone jetty was seen as recreational area for family. They have 2 boats. There was an old concrete slipway with metal rails which was to be refurbished, replaced or perhaps removed. A decision on this would be forthcoming.

Quality of landscape from public road was important in particular view opening out to loch after passing over burn - landscape character changes from enclosed to more open at this point.

Soil appeared to be a fertile sandy loam from excavation for services. Further soil tests would be required.

There appeared to be some problems with drainage in particular in meadow to west of house.

There were problems of short-term maintenance now that sheep have gone. Coarse grass and other weeds gave appearance of dereliction. Client might employ a gardener on a shared basis with local laird.

There were many of the pests which occur in rural situations - rabbits, hares, roe deer, moles, mice and voles - and all planting proposals would have to take protection from these into account.

Client's brief:

The client was looking for a full service from Concept design through to contract supervision and advice on long-term management of the landscape. It was presumed that involvement with this project would be over a period of years rather than months.

Particular problems referred to were:

1. Areas of soil adjoining the pebble beach were in serious danger of erosion as a result of wave action and required some form of stabilisation.

2. Although the main parking area was to the side of the house, the client wished visitors to approach by the front door.

3. Vandals were causing damage to an area close to the beach at the north-east end of the property. Some method of discouraging them without excluding locals wishing to walk along the loch-side was required.

4. The new greenhouse sat in an uneasy relationship to the house.

5. Trees growing by the loch side obscured views from the new house. Some method of opening these out without removing the trees, which helped stabilise the beach, was needed.

6. Access to the septic tank tank was required. The architect said that this could be within 100m of the nearest hard-standing as long as the local authority was informed.

7. The gas tanks are underground and care would have to be taken in this area.

8. The neighbour’s septic tank and overflow soakaway had to be protected.

Things particularly requested were:

1. Visitors to be led to main entrance rather than back door.

2. Some device to discourage vandals from entrance along beach without giving fortress-like feeling to discourage locals.

3. Separation of beach surface from garden.

4. Means of discouraging poachers from entry to property from upper road.

5. Formation of an amphitheatre to the south-east of the house.

6. An area to sit to the east of the house (sheltered from westerly winds and in the sun).

7. An area for fruit and vegetables flexibly designed to allow for expansion/contraction of the actual growing area.

8. A “dirty space” (client’s own phrase) for compost bins etc, readily accessible but out of sight. The client intended to purchase a small tractor and it had to be accessible to this.

9. Area round deck to be designed with entertaining in mind.

BeforeAfter

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Last modified:30th January 2011

Copyright Sam McGowan 2011