THE JOURNAL FOR THE SOCIETY OF GARDEN DESIGNERS

What are you working on: DeakinLock

Chris Deakin and Jason Lock at RHS Chelsea 2015


Chris Deakin MSGD and Jason Lock MSGD are currently designing a new project at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, for a garden extending down from a house to a river estuary. Written by Zia Allaway


What was the clients’ brief for the garden?

The garden had been neglected and was quite overgrown, and the clients asked us to open it up and create a better connection with the river estuary, while including some shelter from the coastal winds. They also wanted us to link the terrace, which leads from the kitchen and entertainment room in a modern extension, to the other areas of the garden, such as the swimming pool and tennis courts.


The new design for the sloping riverside garden will link the terrace from the house to the pool


How did the design evolve?

The design takes its cue from the features of the Arts and Crafts-style house, and creates a much stronger axis through the garden. We have extended an existing herringbone-brick pathway through to a formal garden lined with pleached hornbeams and flowerbeds. And where the views of the estuary are impaired by dense woodland, we’ve thinned the trees but retained old gnarled specimens that lend character, while a gravel path leads down to a private jetty and boathouse. The planting references the landscape beyond the garden and includes prairie-style perennials and grasses.


What are the challenges?

The garden is at the bottom of a slope and floods periodically, so we need to install drainage, but the greatest challenge is the estuary wall, which is in desperate need of repair if the garden is to be prevented from slipping into the river. We plan to shore up the banks with sheet piling faced with stone-filled gabions, but we first have to get permission from the Environment Agency and Marine Maritime Organisation, which regulate all construction on the estuary. It’s an exciting project and we’re learning a lot from it.


DeakinLock are based in Suffolk and produce designs throughout East Anglia, London and the Home Counties. www.deakinlock.co.uk