The view from the back of this semi-detached cottage takes in a complex grid of small adjoining gardens typical of English villages. Its own little plot is sunny and enclosed by attractive stone walls, irregular in shape and overhung on one side by a neighbouring evergreen hedge. Its small size – made smaller by the presence of an essential shed – had deterred the owner from planting anything that encroached on the lawn; but the dominance of the lawn meant there was little character or privacy, and therefore little incentive to spend time outside.

My solution was to remove the lawn altogether, filling the space instead with a mixture of shrubs, flowering plants and three small, pruned trees, all surrounding a paved area large enough to contain a discreetly placed sun lounger. In the narrow area along the side of the building, which funnels westerly winds into the garden, I created two dense clipped hedges, to slow down the wind and create a diminutive breakfast terrace, so that the owner now has plenty of reason to be outside from morning till evening.