Stuart Layzell’s Garden

The words ‘low maintenance’ do not apply to this garden, according to the owner, Stuart Layzell. It’s all about plants and variety and vigour – needing constant work. The garden was entirely developed from scratch about seven years ago. Loam and manure were imported, as the soil, while good, was impacted clay and needed to be loosened up.

From the start Stuart wanted bright colour and seasonal change. The plan was always to have formal ‘bones’, hence the walls, patios and pathways, but also to have informal cottage gardens and a parterre-style veggie garden (the latter not fully achieved yet). The designs were scrawled in pencil on paper, and Paul from Argyle Landscapes had to interpret as best he could (doing a great job, says Stuart). Then Stuart did all the planting himself.

The plantings are based on a cottage garden approach. Spring brings Delphiniums, Foxgloves, lots of Poppies and Cornflowers (Stuart’s favourites), and many other annuals, with fruit blossom from apples and plums. It changes every year as Stuart likes to mix it up. Roses remind him of his parents and grandparents as they grew them, so rose bushes are there. Scent is important too, so jonquils and sweet peas are on the list to be grown every year, and Wisteria is being encouraged. Foliage is added by Cannas, Hostas and Bananas. In summer self-seeded Dahlias and Cosmos pop up everywhere and provide colour for months. Tall narrow cypresses add punctuation and height to the overall design.

The front has a steep slope: a ‘Mediterranean terraced hillside’ was the plan. The view from the front is great, but looking up to the house from the veggie garden at the back is the best. There are lots of seating options. Indeed, Stuart claims the back is a lovely place to sit with a well-deserved glass of wine in the evening, to survey the work done.