Greys House, Greys Green, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

This rambling old house was purchased by an existing customer of ours to renovate and create a new home. The initial plans to renovate the house had to be altered when it was found to be structurally unsound. Babylon Design was commissioned to work closely with the architect in drawing up plans of the garden for the building contractors to work from.

The new gardens were laid out all around the house and included a front garden with a grey colour scheme designed to compliment the house’s name and exterior door and gate finishes. Various terraces were planted up to take advantage of the sun through the day as well as allowing the client to enjoy the garden from varying points.

Babylon Design were particularly excited to find that the soil was atypical for the area and was acidic enough to grow Rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants. Many of these were thriving in an overgrown shrubbery with conifers overshadowing the more attractive plants. Babylon Design worked with a tree contractor to remove some of the trees and duller shrubs to allow the remaining plants to thrive. Additional ground cover and acid-loving plants were added and bark paths installed to create a woodland walk area more often to be seen in Surrey or Cornwall than the chalky soils of the Chilterns.

The surrounding horse paddocks were sown with a wildflower seed mix by a farm contractor and large amounts of trees, some as large as six metres, were planted around the fields in drifts and groves to create parkland in which the client could walk her dogs.

Mown paths through the meadows linked the adjoining five acre wood to the newly created wildlife pond built by Mark Hatt. Babylon Design was charged with planting the surrounding bog areas and banks with a mixture of native and exotic aquatics. Large drifts of water lilies were also planted in the new pond. Which was quickly colonized by dragonflies and amphibians.