Bowles & Wyer

Feature Project: Garden in Buckinghamshire

Written by Rosa Hinton

Our construction team share their insights into the build of a stunning new garden in Buckinghamshire, designed by McWilliam Studio…

Designed by McWilliam Studio, this garden forms part of a family home, located in Marlow in Buckinghamshire. We’ve been working closely with Gavin McWilliam to successfully construct this stunning scheme, despite various challenges along the way.

Concept design drawings by McWilliam Studio

As with any garden construction, we always work with the designer to make small design tweaks as we progress through the construction programme. However, McWilliam Studios design has a distinctive ‘look’ – blending traditional Arts and Craftsmanship with modernist features. The dark granite stone paving and contemporary water feature gives it a classically modernist feel, but are offset by more traditional flint walling.

The flint walling is a key design feature of the space – with two lower walls acting as focal points within the garden.

Gavin McWilliam comments, “Where client and budget allows, we always try and work with the language of local materials. In this instance the listed building and the surrounding architecture of Marlow offered a wealth of options: brick, timber, chalk and flint were to be explored. Through the design development process, we refined this down to flint with a dark mortar joint, with Corten apertures picking up on the warm tones in the flint. These in turn related to the elongated windows on the rear façade of the building.”

The construction of these walls was not only a considerable investment, but a major challenge within the build. The coping stones were custom-made by an independent quarry so as to look thicker than they actually were and the walling required skilled work to construct.

McWilliam adds, “The team at Bowles and Wyer exceeded our expectations in the quality of flint work produced. Delivering a beautiful finish with close joints that can only be achieved through time, care and skill.”

Of course, the other major challenge of the build was the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdown struck in the middle of our construction, which meant our workforce was limited and caused inevitable delays. We also faced shortages on our basic construction materials, although thankfully our shipments of stone weren’t affected. We’re pleased to be back to capacity now and the site construction is progressing nicely.

Photos by McWilliam Studio

The planting scheme takes on a variety of traditional, modern and textured planting, with large Amelanchier trees at the bottom of the garden. The plants look especially striking against the backdrop of black fencing, which we installed along the boundary line. Although it may sound shocking, within a country garden, the black fence doesn’t look out of place and really brings the colour out of the planting, whilst the fence itself almost disappears.

We’re drawing to the end of what has been an exciting project – the planting is almost finished, and we just have the finishing touches to do on the water feature and front drive. We’re looking forward to seeing the finished results in a couple of weeks’ time…

August 4, 2020