The Penguin Garden


Location: Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Aspect: East Facing

Soil Type: Sandy Loam

Existing Features:
This sheltered, enclosed garden had previously been used as an outdoor teaching space for a local cookery school, with numerous raised beds for growing herbs and kitchen produce.

As you moved away from the house, the garden changed in level, rising by about 400 mm. A timber garage provided the boundary to the left side of the garden, giving a sense of structure and character to the space.

Although the garden was not essentially overlooked, my clients were keen to make their new living space as private and calming as possible by screening the neighbouring buildings.

A Contemporary Design

To create an elegant, contemporary garden for entertaining and relaxing and most importantly to provide a stunning home for the penguins that were undoubtedly the stars of the garden at nearly 5ft tall.

Water was a central element to the design, introduced to enhance a sense of relaxation and calm and provide a more natural habitat for the penguins.

Creating A Sense Of Depth

The space required strong lines flowing away from the house, drawing the eye down through the garden, creating a sense of depth within the space.

The beautiful, but hidden, walnut tree was rescued from the rear of the garden and given new prominence so its splendour could be appreciated once again.

Incorporating Seating Areas

My client wanted seating areas for both relaxation and outdoor dining, which were integrated seamlessly into the overall design.

A love of art and collecting was central to the character of the garden. These two themes were showcased to full and dramatic effect by the clean and simple lines that provide a backdrop.

A Striking Lighting Design

As well as being enjoyed throughout gorgeous long summer days, the garden took on a new experience in summer evenings. A striking lighting design provided a whole new experience as daylight fell, creating a magical space of shape and shadow.

Why I Loved Working On This Design

The penguins are a stunning feature and my client was so passionate about them. Her passion became my passion and I wanted to do them proud. My challenge was to create a design where they were placed in context with the other features but were still centre stage. This is why we added the water feature - introducing the stepping stones, like boulders of ice, which the penguins would encounter in their natural habitat. Some of my other inspiration came from the design of sofas. I replicated their beautiful soft grey and white colour pallet throughout the stones in the walkway and the water. There is something magical about designing small gardens. Everything has to work and be front and centre in multiple disciplines; every element plays a part and has to have colour, form and structure

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