Transforming a side garden in Chesham Bois

Chesham Bois

Transforming a side garden in Chesham Bois. Small side gardens are often ignored, unloved and awkward. We turned this side garden into something beautiful. You can see the small side garden from inside of the home, it adds to the living space as a live vignette. It’s a piece of garden art that will be ever-changing…

Client Brief

Their main concern was damp. The building is set into a slope and has historic damp issues. The clients changed the window detailing and at the same time improved the damp prevention… This left the side garden in need of a design.

The client’s water butts connected to the front elevation downpipes to collect the rain had to stay. They sit at the top of the step arrangement as they have done for years. The client preferred to have natural materials, minimal planting and to keep the access open.

The fence had to stay… it was the neighbours…


On Karl’s initial site survey, he got to see the rest of the client’s garden. Filled with ferns and many other wonderful looking plants. Karl knew he wanted to echo this within his natural material scheme for the side garden.

Choosing to use a stepped arrangement to avoid interfering with the damp course of the home. Karl chose to use French oak rail sleepers; keeping the scheme simple and natural was very important to this design. To accompany the French oak in the materials pallet Karl also chose to use broken York Stone to create stepping stones to get to the top of the steps. Pairing this with Cotswold flat shingle a simple ground cover that should go unnoticed and highlight the simple planting.

This design would give the clients maximum use of the space whilst keeping the materials simple and justifiable.

Distressed French Oak Sleepers

It was important that this scheme was natural-oak, gravel and planting. The detail in this scheme is minute but shows care and consideration. We took the time to express every natural deviation, split, check and crack. Each movement was carefully chiselled, routed, scraped and sanded. It took two chaps several days to enhance these large lumps of timber. They also sculpted the sharp edges to enhance the shape. Oiling with Textrol Honey has enhanced the colour. A well deserved and richer tone, much needed for this French oak.

Credits and Further information

Design and Installation – Karl Harrison Landscapes Ltd

Materials – Country Supplies

Completed – 2020

Location – Chesham Bois

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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.