The Grey House in Berkhamsted

In the centre of Berkhamsted, an existing Victorian house, sits on a site to impress and overlook… set in a conservation area – a Heritage asset. The recently renovated and extended property had been completed and the gardens needed to match the high standards demanded by the property.

Client Brief

“Our property looks amazing and we love it… but we don’t love our garden”. The immediate transition from the front garden to the back verged on the impossible. We need a rear garden courtyard terrace and a sensible materials choice to keep in line with the contemporary nature of the house and at the same time respect the Victorian Architecture.


In this instance, the hard landscaping dictated the initial direction for this project. Due to the uneven nature of the existing landscape; it was essential that a raised structure was needed to create a courtyard terrace. This being the immediate usable garden space in the private courtyard to the rear of the property. We considered a low maintenance material and Millboard composite decking became the material of choice due to the texture and colour available. The detailing had to be exact, fully finished to the perimeter with trims and fascia. Furthermore, to accommodate the Specimen trees, Cornus Kousa ‘China Girl’, we created circles  in the decking, lined with steel edging and hidden containers under the decking to accommodate the roots. These circles were offset by simple yet stylish steel water bowls… Japanese in concept and quintessentially English in design. The steep elevations were overcome with a careful design step arrangement, handmade paving units in Olive by Vande Mortel.
“I always love using clay pavers as an element within my designs due to the fact they are so directional and have a way of drawing your eyes to where you want them to go. Also this particular colour somehow manages to be both contemporary and classic at the same time”.

Bespoke Galvanized Steel Planters

The star of this show, the custom fabricated planters, a feature in themselves. These were a design collaboration between Karl and The Team… simple in form but complex to manufacture and deliver. The galvanized steel flower bed border was a first for this style of retaining feature. Further, Normal bricks or a planter of some description is normally used; in this instance, the design did take over and delivered… The horticultural element of this garden design leant itself to a consistent planting scheme, a plethora of the same planting complimenting arrangement proves its worth in a contemporary style. Further, Grasses and ferns allowed us to create a sea of texture: Carex Morrowii “Ice Dance”, Aplenium Scolopendrium, Polystichum Munitum, Dryopteris Wallichiana, Digitalis Purpurea Alba.
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About Karl

Karl Harrison designs, builds and delivers high end residential and commercial landscaping projects.

He brings clarity to unusual situations, new materials and understands how to apply them with current technology. He is a professional Engineer and demands attention to detail that ensures impeccable results.

We absolutely love the space that Karl & his team created for us.

See how we can help you...

We adapt to the needs of every client, fluent in a combination of traditional techniques ensuring the hard landscaping works in harmony with the soft planting, garden art and style in your garden.

We hope you like what you see.

We’d love to meet you in your garden to see how we can turn your outdoor space into a work of art.