On a quiet lane, overlooking the New Forest, this pretty Edwardian holiday cottage had an unusual garden. The small front garden had a patch of lawn and undefined beds which led, over concrete slabs along the side of the house to a dual level terrace and then to a shady rear garden. It had to be easily maintained, with seasonal interest and any planting near the boundary had to be proof against the strong winds and hungry ponies.

We defined beds in the front and back gardens with toothed brickwork, a wooden screen was erected, to shelter the front seating area and a random path of stone and gravel was laid, linking all the elements. The old gates were removed and new rustic fences and gates were erected to secure the garden.

The major work involved levelling the central patio area and removing several tonnes of rubble. Warmed toned slabs were to provide a more spacious seating and dining space.

Tough shrubs, including Cistus and Sea Buckthorn were planted round the boundaries. In the front garden the beds were filled with robust perennials; Euphorbias, Leucanthemum, Nepeta and in the back garden; Bergenia, Hellebores, Pulmonaria in the shade and Achillea, Helenium, Sedum in the sun. The new central courtyard has two small beds, one with more perennials and the other with culinary herbs. While the excavation was taking place a well was discovered and this has now become a feature.