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A hillside country garden with moor views

Complete planting design | Ilkley, Yorkshire

The Brief

Our retired clients wanted a planting scheme for their newly landscaped back garden.  They had worked with Thomas Moore Landscapes to create a ‘blank canvas’ garden.  There had been no consideration of planting when the garden was built, so a full planting design service was needed.  

The clients wanted to retain as much lawn area as possible.  They travelled frequently so wanted something reasonably low maintenance whilst providing some areas to potter in the garden during the summer months.  Colours the clients loved were purple, white, silver and yellow.

The site

The south facing garden is situated on the south facing valley slope in Middleton, Ilkley so much of the garden is sunny and relatively warm for a Yorkshire climate. The whole of the back garden is viewed from the kitchen dining area and is very much part of the indoor experience due to the large windows. 

It had been built with terraces, steps, walling and lawn only and no borders had been created. The evening sun can be enjoyed on the East side of the garden. Sitting in the morning sun is possible on the west side of the patio next to the house.  

The Finished Planting


Low maintenance plant selections where possible.

Evergreen yew topiary pyramids attract nesting birds.

Serpentine beech hedge screens fence.

Man-shed nestled into evergreen planting.

The Design

The design for the garden was to match the personal style of the interior of the house, as well as integrating the views into the rural landscape beyond.

Borders were created and shaped with an attractive lawn profile. 

Structural planting was used to:

  • enhance garden symmetry
  • frame path axes
  • work with views from glass fronted kitchen
  • soften swimming pool, appearance of man-shed and dominant timber fencing
The colour palette focussed on lilacs, purples, whites and silvers.  Yellow colours were used moderately, particularly with spring bulbs. 

The Planting

A serpentine beech hedge along the lower boundary not only screens the fence all year, but the colours also work with the changing seasons of the moor beyond the garden boundary.  The wavy character of the hedge adds shadow interest – when the sun is out!

Espalier and fan trained fruit trees were planted against the south facing retaining walls. Amelanchier were used either side of the lower steps as they look good all year round.

The tall yew pyramids create a little softening when viewed from the kitchen window.  Birds can be seen from the house, nesting in these.

Prunus lusitanica was chosen as the evergreen shrub to soften the side boundaries, neighbouring houses and the man shed.

Flowering perennials were included against the walls.  Hidden from view during winter, but enjoyed in the garden during summer.

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