Before and after projects are definitely not only limited to houses—in fact, there are many outdoor areas around the United Kingdom that are crying out for help, too. Ranging from derelict inner city courtyards to expanses of land in country estates, garden maintenance may fall down the list in rank when it comes to choosing between looking after the house and outdoor space. In this instance, we are presented with an interesting project of a substantial size. A tennis court at the rear of a country home was in dire need of assistance and care. Totally overrun by weeds, riddled with cracks and with a less than desirable rusting framework, the transformation of this garden by Christine Wilson Gardens is nothing short of remarkable. Take a look…
In the first image, we are presented with a rather unpleasant view—the old and abandoned tennis court that has fallen into a state of disrepair and disuse. As you can see, it is not exactly the image you envisage when you think of a country tennis court. There is no lush green grass, no perfectly drawn white line markings, and definitely no tennis players hitting balls in their freshly pressed outfits. In fact, had we not known that this space was once a tennis court, we might have just assumed it was a obsolete piece of land.
From this angle, we see more of the unused outdoor area. Here, the only occupants are dead branches, dying trees, weeds and overgrown shrubs. There is nothing here other than a piece of land that is in a sad and sorry state. However, these before images are a great way to set the scene, and prepare you to be wowed by the completed project that you will see further down.
For those who are architecturally or design inclined, seeing a plan can be very useful, especially for those who are looking to redesign or upgrade their gardens. Not only does it help you to translate the images into an aerial view, but it also allows you to see the relationship and intricate thought process that goes into planning a garden. You are able to see the dense areas versus those that are sparse, and see what zones are heavily planted in relation to the areas that have been left grassed. The detail in this plan is outstanding; and although the after images are visually pleasing, we are able to learn and see so much from this drawing.
As you saw above, there was circular section of land marked in the drawing on the bottom left. This can be fully visualised in this image. A water fountain is the central and focal point, surrounded by a circular shaped section of grass. Almost like a private sector, this portion of land is a great space to relax and contemplate the world. The shape and slight enclosure by shrubs and rose arches creates a sense of intimacy and seclusion, despite the fact this country garden is open and spacious.
No country garden would be complete without a set of wooden rose arches. Roses are a quintessentially British icon—after all, if you look back through history, many of the warring royal families such as the Tudors, Plantagenets and Lancasters had a rose as a full piece, or as a part of their family emblems. You can just imagine in the springtime when the roses start to bloom, that this area will be a sea of colour, with petals flying through the wind and the fresh, sweet smell of roses in the air.
The new patio, thanks to its design, forms a wonderful relationship with the existing house. The hierarchy provided by the different levels helps to create distinction between the various areas—you can clearly see where the patio and garden area start and finish. What a great area to host a brunch—or any meal really! In the warmer months, we can only assume that the occupants would spend the majority of their time here, either with guests or in solitude—a pleasurable and enjoyable experience nonetheless.
To finish, we are presented with a view of the shrub walk, and although it is still growing and maturing, we find ourselves amongst an area that would be wonderful to stroll through in the morning and evenings. There is no need for expensive gym memberships or personal trainers when you have a space like this at your fingertips. The subtle border provided by the grey rocks shows the distinction between the planted areas and walking zones in a manner that in unobtrusive and blends nicely with the rest of the surrounding landscape. Overall, the changes that this disused tennis court have undergone are remarkable, and it goes to show that anything is possible!
To see another great example of a garden overhaul, check out this ideabook: