We have recently been commissioned to design a new landscape around this wonderful high-Pennine farmhouse.
The house itself is set in a valley almost at the highest point of the Pennines above Todmorden, and is reached by a narrow farm track.
Originally built in the 18th century as a working farm, the field to the front of the house has been extensively planted with trees by the previous owners and has become somewhat crowded.
The existing landscape comprises a veritable homestead with two vegetable plots, goats, a chicken run, a river, a quarry and several beautiful woodland glades. The wooded hillside is thick with indigenous wild flowers and runs down to a small, fast flowing river whose series of waterfalls provides plenty of drama and wonderful, magical sounds.

The grounds are a natural habitat for birds and wildflowers.
There is plenty of scope here for fresh design ideas…the main challenge will be to re-design according to the ‘spirit of the place'. We will have succeeded when the vistas are made more beautiful by working with nature in a sustainable way, rather than attempting to apply any strong principles of garden design in the traditional way.

There are some natural constraints too:
• Harsh winds at times with the valley acting as a wind tunnel
• Acidic soil in parts (bilberries are a good indicator of low Ph and are plentiful on nearby peaks)
• Higher altitude means lower temperatures
• Hilly terrain means less sunlight especially during non-summer months.
There are several existing, fairly flat grassy terraced areas, ideal for use as informal seating areas with two vantage points overlooking the most dramatic sections of the fast flowing river.

During the winter months, access to the garden areas becomes difficult, so the panoramas from the house become incredibly important to the clients.

The clients (Two busy academics and their teenage daughter) have identified five areas to be developed:
• The front of house is currently used as public access and is little more than a farm track providing further access to a handful of dwellings. There is enormous potential for creating interesting and attractive design elements
• The area adjacent to the kitchen gets early morning sun and is ideal for eating out. The views from the dining area, particularly, need some sort of focal point or feature
• An existing elevated deck area will be redesigned to make it more inviting as a seating area
• The upper glade is currently a grassy seating area. Some sympathetic pruning of surrounding trees is needed and a terrace area will create a vantage point
• Two points that overlook the river below will benefit from hardstanding that will create areas to sit and enjoy the soothing drama of the water below.
So, this project should be both fun and a bit of a challenge.

Watch this space for some early design ideas…… see the project developing.


  1. Pam Kersting said...

    Hello David Anderson! Welcome to Blogland. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will visit you and keep up with this exciting project that you are embarking on. It will be fascinating, I am sure! Best wishes.  


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