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Description of site:

The site is the garden ground to the front and rear of a Victorian mid-terrace house in the South-east part of the coastal town of Dunbar in East Lothian. Front garden is small but provides an element of set-back from the road and faces South, meaning it receives sun for a large proportion of the day. The site falls steeply away from the house to the rear and provides good views out over the Forth estuary and the North Sea. The total area of the site under consideration is approximately 400m2, 40 in front and 360 to the rear.

The back garden was fairly derelict and was covered mainly with rough grass and there was a concrete terrace immediately in front of the house which was in danger of collapse because of ground erosion and had a safety barrier which was extremely rusted. The client lets the house as a holiday home and safety was a major issue. The slope below this terrace is extremely steep and at the time of the first visit was unusable and there was no safe access through this area to the lane below. There was an old conservatory which was rotting away which the client intended replacing (perhaps extending further into the terrace area) and a small outbuilding which was to be removed to let more light into the kitchen and improve the view. There are a collection of “washhouses” at the bottom of the rear garden 2 of which belong to neighbours.

The building is listed.

Client's brief:

The client wanted to create a garden which is safe, manageable and enhances the house as a holiday let and adds to its investment value. She wanted it to fit in with the house and its seaside setting. She would have liked the work completed by Easter if possible - to fit in with the main letting season an hence an accelerated programme would be called for.

She wanted the front garden to be simply paved with space for seating and a hedge, perhaps Yew, providing privacy from the road. She wanted some areas for planted tubs and screening for the “wheelie bin”.

The rear garden should respect the views and provide areas for seating both on the terrace and lower down the garden, perhaps using built-in seats. A barbeque area with built-in stone table would be desirable.

Current situation:

Hard landscape and planting work is now complete.

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Last modified:30th January 2011

Copyright Sam McGowan 2011