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  • Writer's pictureBridgette Macilwaine

West Sussex seaside garden transformation

This exciting garden transformation from an old crumbling overgrown entrance driveway to an attractive and seaside resilient front garden has been a great project to watch evolve.

This area consisted of mismatching irregular paving slabs, weeds growing around all borders of the driveway and an old disintegrating border timber fence.

The aim to was create an attractive and seaside resilient front garden, as well as incorporating an area to capture the rainfall runoff and reducing flooding issues in our areas, as the way we see it - positive urban design is the effort to integrate biodiverse planting, human desires and sustainable drainage

This re-design was not a quick and simple process, as many layers of the build had to be considered before any aesthetic planting and decoration could be added.

The design of this area included a range of robust, wind tolerant plants, as this seaside location was quite exposed with varying levels of shade and sunshine.

Some of these plants included:

  • Pittosporum tobira nanum

  • Santolina chamaecyparissus

  • Chamerops humilis

  • Skimmia 'kew green'

  • Vinca major

  • Olive tree

  • Pittosporum tenuifolium

  • Liriope muscari

  • Agave

As shown in the images below, this area was used as the material storage zone while the driveway and house was completed. Once the edgings were in and the paving materials used up, the hole was then able to be dug to prepare this area for planting.


"Positive urban design is the effort to integrate biodiverse planting, human desires and sustainable drainage"

As many tonnes of materials had been stored here, as well as the ground in this area being quite sticky and very clay like, the plan was to make sure a rather deep hole was prepared which was then filled with a layer of gravel to the base to aid with drainage and a mixture of topsoil and compost. This ensures the new plants will have plenty of nutrition once planted to allow them to establish well here.

Once the planting area was complete, this was then covered with a layer of think geotextile, the aim of this was to help prevent too many weeds growing here but also to help separate the gravel from the soil.

As a mixture of 20mm Cotswold gravel and 20mm shingle was so to cover this planting area, the geotextile helps stop these from mixing and sinking into the ground. Another benefit of this, was that not all the planting was to be completed in one go, as this was to be stages over a few weeks. When a new set of plants was to arrive the geotextile could easily be cut, a hole dug and the new plant placed into the ground.

Once the structural plants were in place, the gaps could then be filled with smaller plants and perennials as well as placing small up-lights to the main feature plants which could be controlled from the main house system and the cabling hidden beneath the gravel.


Thanks for reading, until next time.


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