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A Small Story - It started with a bridge

Updated: Feb 13

Not all projects need to be big. Whilst here in this corner of France we might be used to large plots of land and big gardens, occasionally we encounter a very small one. This is a small story that made a big difference.

Garden maintenance Charente and Charente Maritime

Boring Beginnings

We received a call from a gentleman who had been recommended by a good client of ours asking if we could help him find inspiration for a boring courtyard. We soon discovered a small courtyard of about 5m by 5m with partial sun and lots of gravel.

Gardener Jarnac

The client explained that they were not particularly interested in gardening but were bored with looking out on this very plain view. What could we do…?

Gardener Cognac

Low (or no) maintenance was preferential and skulking in the corner were a couple of pots within which were plants that could be used, oh, and there was a bridge. Apparently, during the covid lockdown, the client had decided to make a bridge in order to pass some time. If this could be used in the garden too, that would be great.

Gardener Matha

We set about stripping out the gravel and utilising the natural divide of two doors to the courtyard, laid the bridge centrally with connecting stepping stones. This slightly jaunty line cut across the courtyard from left to right and created our first sight line. Naturally having a bridge located in the centre called for something to run beneath it but as the courtyard was prone to getting hot, the client did not want water there as it would quickly dry up.

Gardener St Jean d'Angeley

We decided that a slate ‘river’ would create the appearance of water and of course never dry up. Using the raised bed in the far corner as the ‘source’ a contrast of stones created both the water and the edging required to provide definition to the new divide. Meandering from one corner to it’s opposite side the ‘river’ flowed naturally under the bridge.

The client was keen to use more stones to create colour as well as texture and in the absence of a lot of planting we used a fine red gravel to contrast against the cream pebbles and black slate which also served to lift the stepping stones.

Gardener Aigre

Finally a home was required for the small topiary tree that had been suffering in its pot, so we liberated it and placed it in the ground. In order to accentuate this feature we framed it with an Everedge tree circle and placed black and white gravel at its base to give it lift. To further tie in the various areas, the same black and white gravel was used on the raised beds that edged the back and one side.

This was just a small job that took only a few days but in that short time a real transformation was made leaving the client satisfied and delighted. They may have started the conversation saying they had no idea what they wanted but once coaxed out of them, they provided all the inspiration that we took and made into a reality. This was always their creation, they just did not know it was in them but through conversation and a continued exchange of ideas we were able to deliver exactly what they wanted.

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