2015 Garden 8 - Herne Bay
In 2013 the owners of this much loved 1912 transitional villa asked architect Kyle Porter to make some internal changes to the house as well as design a self-contained studio in the garden. Their brief emphasised a wish for adherence to sustainable principles, and the desire for the new building to sit comfortably and sympathetically alongside the house.
The most exciting part of the garden brief was to link the two; to create a pleasant journey from house to sleep out ‘through’ the garden. It was to be naturalistic both in style and philosophy – using natural systems, companion planting and species attractive to bird life.
The journey starts at the elevated back deck, a good place to pause and look out to the garden before stepping down to the pebble path, which wends through the garden – two circular ‘mirror’ lawns on one side and raised vegetable gardens and espaliered fruit trees on the other. At this point you are immersed in the garden and it is a sensory experience. In high summer the productive vegetable garden overflows, beans on tripods and tall swaying flower heads planted specifically to bring bees and other pollinators, give height and exuberance.
Naturalistic lines are hard to achieve in a small garden so some precision was applied in the creation of two circular lawns edged in old brick, one level and one slightly tilted to work with the natural contour of the site.
The journey ends at the studio which sits easily in the garden as though it’s been there for decades. Nearby is a wooden garden shed with a three-bin timber composting system and potting bench tucked in behind. The existing puriri, titoki and cabbage trees help give a sense of maturity and scale despite the garden’s youth.
Entering the formally laid out front garden which echoes the symmetry of the house facade, there is no hint of the very different back garden beyond. The owners love their garden and are deeply involved with the maintenance and ongoing seasonal tasks of both productive and ornamental garden areas.