Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Garden Designer Visit: At Home with Emily Erlam in Norfolk

Search

Garden Designer Visit: At Home with Emily Erlam in Norfolk

November 17, 2017

When garden designer Emily Erlam and her family moved a few years ago from London to East Anglia—where she had grown up a few miles from the sea—they found an unusual home, in what might euphemistically be called “unused agricultural buildings.”

“We bought the old barn and piggery,” she recently told The Modern House, “down the road from my mum.”

After a major remodel (“we’ve kept the original flint wall of the piggery, and almost everything else is new,” she said), Erlam’s challenge was to create a garden that felt like an extension of the indoor living spaces. “As a family we live outside as much as we do inside; even in the winter the four of us will sit outside on the veranda and have a cup of tea,” she said. “And, being a landscape designer, I was focused on how to extend the internal footprint to outdoor living spaces by connecting the building with planted areas up close to the house.”

The solution? Two courtyards, entered through multiple doors in both buildings, planted with a rich mix of perennials, grasses, and evergreens for year-round color. Let’s look at how the indoor and outdoor living spaces connect:

Photography courtesy of The Modern House except where noted.

The building on the left is an old tithe barn, where in centuries past the local clergy stored the taxes they collected from surrounding villages. At right is the remodeled piggery, in which Erlam and her husband and two children live.
Above: The building on the left is an old tithe barn, where in centuries past the local clergy stored the taxes they collected from surrounding villages. At right is the remodeled piggery, in which Erlam and her husband and two children live.
: A view of one of the two inner courtyards, formed by the connection of the tithe barn (L) and the piggery (R). Photograph by Ioana Marinescu. See more in A Rural Remodel in Norfolk, Tithe Barn and Piggery Included.
Above:: A view of one of the two inner courtyards, formed by the connection of the tithe barn (L) and the piggery (R). Photograph by Ioana Marinescu. See more in A Rural Remodel in Norfolk, Tithe Barn and Piggery Included.
In lieu of downspouts, rain chains guide water from gutter to ground. The west courtyard is paved in basalt setts. Photograph by Ioana Marinescu.
Above: In lieu of downspouts, rain chains guide water from gutter to ground. The west courtyard is paved in basalt setts. Photograph by Ioana Marinescu.
“At the moment we just use the barn for parties and entertaining—t’s such a lovely luxury to have this beautiful Georgian barn at your disposal, although when we bought it it was being used as farm storage, and was filled with old tractors and hay,” said Erlam.
Above: “At the moment we just use the barn for parties and entertaining—t’s such a lovely luxury to have this beautiful Georgian barn at your disposal, although when we bought it it was being used as farm storage, and was filled with old tractors and hay,” said Erlam.
Against the flint facade of the piggery, Erlam planted a mix of shrubs and perennials such as euphorbia (at Left), edged by a gravel courtyard.
Above: Against the flint facade of the piggery, Erlam planted a mix of shrubs and perennials such as euphorbia (at Left), edged by a gravel courtyard.
“The south east courtyard is exuberantly planted and was designed with rich autumnal colors in mind,” says Erlam.
Above: “The south east courtyard is exuberantly planted and was designed with rich autumnal colors in mind,” says Erlam.

Kitchen

Generously sized windows and French doors open the kitchen to the garden.
Above: Generously sized windows and French doors open the kitchen to the garden.
The house has doors on both sides, opening up the interiors to the garden and making it a good entertaining space.
Above: The house has doors on both sides, opening up the interiors to the garden and making it a good entertaining space.
The modern root cellar; Erlam stores vegetables in baskets behind a pair of rolling barn doors.
Above: The modern root cellar; Erlam stores vegetables in baskets behind a pair of rolling barn doors.

Firewood Storage

The brick fire surround in the living area contains a deep recess for logs and kindling.
Above: The brick fire surround in the living area contains a deep recess for logs and kindling.
Erlam owns the meadow next to the house.
Above: Erlam owns the meadow next to the house.

See more of Erlam’s house and garden at The Modern House.

N.B.: For more of our favorite gardens in rural England, see Garden Visit: Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage at Dungeness. And don’t miss our recent post on The Cult of the Courtyard: 10 Backyard Ideas for Small Spaces.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

From our network