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contemporary family garden. terraces & a garden room

Garden design | Menston, Yorkshire

The Brief

Our clients were seeking a professional garden design to work out the best way to integrate the conversion (and extension) of an under-used garage to a garden room into the garden. They also wanted to know how to connect the routes around the garden and across the different levels.

They also wanted:

  • a pergola for entertaining, relaxing, and outdoor dining for up to 10-12 people on the lower terrace.
  • an area for the teens to hang out too.
  • an outdoor haven, which feels tidy and calm
  • a garden which is easier to maintain and to encourage them to spend more time outside.
  • to oversee the build of the garden themselves with First Light Landscaping.  

The site

Our clients with teenage children moved into their home four years previously, inheriting a neglected and tired garden.  The property is situated next to a busy road with neighbouring houses around and a supermarket close by.  The existing garden had no distinction between the front and back areas. 

The levels across the site were quite complex.  The main garden area was at a lower level than the tall Edwardian stone house.  (The house is 8.8m high, the main garden area is 2m below house threshold).  


Words from the contractor...

“From our general experience, garden design drawings can sometimes be difficult to understand and work from.  But this is not the case when working with Melissa Morton Garden Design. Their designs and technical drawings are very clear and easy-to-understand.  This ensures the setting out and subsequent build very straight forward. 

The areas and spaces are well-designed making the projects enjoyable to work on, as well as satisfying when the project is completed.

We enjoy working with the high quality materials that Melissa has helped the client to select. There is nothing more satisfying for a contractor working with quality materials that you know are going to last well for the client.”

L Pickering

First Light Landscaping Ltd


Bespoke pergola enhancing connection with inside and garden room.

New secluded decked terrace close to the back door for easy access for adults and/or teens to chill out

Planting to soften high house elevation.

Pleached trees with fencing for privacy 

The Design

Designs included:

  • an attractive space appealing to all the family, conveniently located at the upper terrace by the back door – a haven to hang out in.
  • a pergola on the garden lower terrace.  To enhance the structure’s visual connection, this was aligned with the architecture of the house and the house bay-window and located near the garden room.
  • A sweeping path between the newly separated front and back gardens creating a direct route for bikes and garden tools.
  • A casual hangout zone for teens is included with a firepit

The Planting

  • The planting design is striking and low-maintenance, with a small amount of topiary and specimen trees for year round structure and form eg Acers and yew cubes.
  • Variation in plant height was factored in to work with the height of the house scaled to the lower terrace.
  • Pleached trees around the top terrace help to screen the neighbouring windows when viewed from the kitchen windows and on the terrace.  In turn this creates an attractive haven to hang out and relax.
  • A line of selected trees along the boundary near the road, provide some barrier to the sound of traffic.
  • Hedging used to separate a new front garden from the back incorporating a gate and arch allowing access between the two areas.

Sustainable Choices

  • Stone for the paving, steps and walling was sourced locally. 
  • Proposed levels worked with existing levels as much as possible to avoid ground material going to landfill.
  • Existing stone was repurposed on site were possible.

The Garden Room

  • The garden level was lowered next to the existing garage by nearly 0.8m to create the right threshold level for the new garden room.
  • Comfortable stepped access routes between the garden room and the house were kept as simple as possible. 
  • A small terrace outside the garden room was included with steps down to the new pergola dining area.


Trees for the pocket border next to the garden room were included in the design to create a sound barrier to traffic noise.  These would be underplanted with an inviting mixture of topiary and ground cover plants of various textures

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