The brief for this job was very specific. To transform a tired and neglected area of garden into an inviting space to relax and socialise in. The kitchen and dining room opened out onto a large section of garden that the family never used and it was here that I was asked to focus on.The garden was on two levels and naturally divided into a section for sitting and relaxing and one for eating. A large pergola was constructed to provide shade from the midday sun and enclosed with rendered planters.A simple, rectangular pond with a small fountain was used to added interest with a wooden arch separating the new part of the garden from the old. The original steps linking both sections were also re-designed, making them much wider and more attractive. The original fencing panels were repainted black to match the rest of the garden and used to provide some privacy to each section. Each was then planted with a selection of climbers. A mixture of gravel and sandstone paving was used to break up the large area of hard landscaping and soften the overall effect. On the upper level a smaller table and chairs were used as well as some loungers to enjoy the afternoon sun. Planting was important in this garden, to soften the black wood used throughout and provide a calming feel. Because of this I decided to keep the colours to a minimum using predominantly greens and white. Clipped box balls were dotted through the borders and low lying box hedging were used to line the edges of paving. White shrub roses were used to add a touch of formality next to my favourite Achillea ‘The Pearl’ which seems to flower all summer long!