Wildflowers compliment a stunning eco-house in the Chiltern Hills
This month we are sharing a wonderful project that has been a real labour of love for one of our clients. Ilona and Andrew, together with their two children, have followed their dream of building something very special in the magical Chiltern Hills and we’re thrilled to have been invited along on their journey.
The story starts back in 2016, when the family happened upon their chosen space and their vision for a sustainable, environmental and eco-friendly home and garden began.
Inheriting a 1950’s bungalow, and determined to progress their ideas, the family appointed architectural designer and television presenter, Charlie Luxton, to assist them to bring together their sustainable build aspirations.
The original house structure was demolished in August of 2020 to make way for a contemporary eco-build. The architectural design incorporates a thoughtful and sustainable approach aimed at keeping energy use very low and heating and cooling to a minimum which will make for a much more comfortable living environment. The huge, high performance, triple-glazed windows contribute to the airtightness of the building and the glazing ‘lantern’ allows light to flood to all corners of the building throughout the year. The adventurous build features black cladding and flint blocks encased in lime mortar, which gives the house a wonderfully natural and unique exterior finish. The top-down design provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape with the living areas prioritised and situated at the upper-most region of the house.
To compliment their wonderful new home, Ilona and Andrew planned for a rustic and naturalistic garden space. Initially enlisting the help of a garden designer, they decided to go it alone with costs spiraling and Covid playing havoc with the main house build. Utilising lockdowns, the family set to work on claiming back their immediate environment.
The original green space consisted of a war-time garden and vegetable patch. In disrepair, and with a poor soil profile consisting of clay and chalk, their first focus was to rescue plantings and focus on creating a useable space that would also be relatively low maintenance.
The garden previously consisted of a long slope leading down into an orchard area. The garden is long and relatively narrow in comparison to its length and the couple wanted to find ways of minimising emphasis on this, while introducing practical, levelled areas to the garden.
The new garden design incorporates a series of garden ‘rooms’ that are informal and curvaceous. Undulating circular areas were cut into the slope with specific space designated for lawn, eating and entertaining. A future outdoor kitchen has also been worked into the landscaping plans.
Beginning at the base of the garden area, the orchard section was the first to receive a makeover. A shaded eating area was created by two large walnut trees, and the family spent six months manually complimenting their unique, undulating garden areas using a combination of Wildflower Turf® Shade Tolerant and Meadowscape Pro™ Shade Tolerant.
In keeping with the project’s sustainable principles, a pond was also dug out, with off-cuts from the Wildflower Turf® incorporated around the water feature. The combination of the pond and wildflowers has been a great success. Not only is it incredibly aesthetically pleasing, but the pond now attracts frogs, toads, dragonflies and damselflies as well as other water wildlife. This garden is all about nature.
With the building finally completed amidst lockdowns and Covid-related delays in November 2021, additional Wildflower Turf Native Enriched was laid, with Ilona and Andrew very keen to move forward from the building site that had encircled their house for some time.
Utilising a combination of Wildflower Turf® and Meadowscape Pro™ has enabled the landscape design to adapt flexibly and the resulting wildflowers contribute to a relaxed look and feel. Additionally, the love of, and respect for, nature is being passed down to the younger generation, with Ilona and Andrew’s children collecting seeds from the resulting wildflowers, with a view to making use of these seeds in other areas of the garden over time.
The over-riding garden project is a continuing one, with a large area to landscape and a number of options available. We look forward to sharing the finished space with you in the future and we are grateful to Ilona and Andrew for sharing their wonderful images and story with us.
You can view more images and follow this project on Instagram: @themodernflinthouse.