In London’s Stoke Common Nature Reserve, a gatehouse built in the early 1990s sits on three bucolic acres, surrounded by woodlands of ferns, pines, and rhododendrons.
Extensively remodeled, the five-bedroom home now has a burnt-wood extension, which acts as a dramatic black backdrop for an entryway courtyard garden. Taking cultural cues from the charred Japanese-style addition, which was created using traditional shou shugi ban techniques, London-based landscape architect Stefano Marinaz created a marvelously airy meadow garden, relying on a simple color palette of whites and pinks.
When Marinaz designed the landscape, he chose elements to connect the historic house with the new wing (clad in carbonized cedar boards) and the surrounding woodlands. Beyond the house, which is framed by the formal geometry of a pleached row of crab apple trees, is a hint of the wilderness beyond. A mown path lures visitors through an opening into the hedgerow to discover a forested fairyland beyond.
Photography by Rosangela Photography, courtesy of Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture.
For tips on how to plant malleable young trees in a very straight row and then train them to create a geometric screen, see Landscaping 101: Pleached Trees.
For more, see Must-Have Flower: All About Veronicastrum.
The wildflower meadow was sown from seed. For similar seed mixes, see Sarah Raven Wild Flower Meadow Mix Seeds; from £7.50 to £34.95 depending on quantity and packaging. For US gardeners, see a variety of Wildflower Seed Mixtures from American Meadows.
Marinaz enhanced the original plantings by adding magnolia trees, witch hazel, and dogwoods at strategic points along the path.
For maximum curb appeal, a garden should complement the architecture and style of a house. For tips, see our Hardscapes 101 guides, including our Exteriors & Facades 101 design guide and Fences & Gates 101: A Design Guide. See more ways to create a meadow garden with Japanese-style overtones:
- Hardscaping 101: Pleaching
- Hardscaping 101: Shou Sugi Ban, Charred Wood Siding
- Before & After: A Charred Wood Cottage, on a $45K Budget
- 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Japanese Zen Masters
- Architect Visit: A Hidden Japanese Garden