Rock and stone terracing and irrigation for a steep ocean-view garden
This was a new garden on the site of a new property. The driveway had been roughed in but that was all. The site sloped so steeply as to make the garden difficult for access. It was generally in poor condition with old and dying trees and brash that had to be cleared and burned. The trees that could be retained are strong dramatic features and important to the overall look and feel of the garden.
It is usual for gardens with steep gradients to need some form of terracing to make them accessible and provide areas for planting. Natural stone is the material of choice for walls because it is cost effective, permanent, and blends with the wider landscape. Very large rocks and boulders were used here to retain the terraces. These were covered with broad areas of crushed stone and areas of soil for planting.
Building walls with random shaped rocks is a skilled job which is why we use experienced craftsmen who lay the stone beautifully, whether by machine or by hand. This is evident in the pictures of the massive rocks put down in this garden, where the balance and the scale looks right.
Planting options were limited to plants that can withstand dry conditions in summer. Lavender, Digitalis, Achillea and other drought-tolerant plants work well with the wider landscape and seascape. Irrigation was still considered essential since rainwater run-off would be a problem and make it difficult for young plants to get started.
In summer, bright sunshine contrasted with the long dark shadows of the trees will give the garden a Mediterranean look!