Terraced Garden, West End

This small front garden is located in Edinburgh’s West End. The garden faces north-east and sits below street level, with the result that it gets very little sun. As well as the challenge of a shady position, the soil in the garden was heavy clay, further narrowing the choice of suitable plants. The owners had lived in the property for some time and had already had the garden terraced with lovely dry-stone walling but over the years they had struggled to find plants that would thrive. I was commissioned to design a planting plan for the garden, with plants suitable for the shady site and heavy soil.

The client wanted evergreen shrubs that would be low maintenance and would provide year-round interest in terms of the view from their living-room window. They also asked for the garden to have a formal feel and structure. I produced a simple planting plan and accompanying schedule. I also produced an elevation drawing to show the client how the garden might look once the plants had filled out.

A central axis of Euonymus leads the eye up the garden to a Victorian-style stone planter which creates a focal point and adds some height against the stone boundary wall. All plants are then placed symmetrically relative to the central axis. On the upper terrace, shrubs include winter-flowering Viburnum Tinus ‘Eve Price’ and glossy-leaved Aucuba ‘Rozannie’. White-flowering Hebes fill the smaller spaces. The central terrace has Skimmia ‘Fragrans’ and Escallonia ‘Peach Blossom’, as well as pink Hebes, providing flower interest throughout Spring and Summer. The lowest terrace has Skimmia ‘Wakehurst White’, and Sarcococca for further Winter interest. On each level Junipers create punctuation points.

The client was delighted to have a planting plan that not only achieved the formal evergreen look, but also provided further interest in terms of flowers throughout all seasons. Following completion of the design I was asked to source the plants and complete the planting. The plants have continued to fill out and thrive since planting.