Today, I am going to show you two properties where each of the designers had the challenge of creating a beautiful garden on two steeply sloping ravines. In the first garden, the ravine literally cuts the property in two on the diagonal.
As you can see from this first image, the property falls off dramatically just off the back deck. The task was then to link the back garden with the other side of the ravine.
This is a very quick, not-to-scale plan of the garden just to give you a clearer
idea of the problem the designer faced.
A pathway leads you to the edge of the ravine. From this angle, the native Ostrich ferns in the middle foreground somewhat conceal the significant slope of the land.
In the far distance, you can see the other half of the property. The plantings here include a Japanese Maple, euonymous, heuchera, Siberian iris, and rhododendrons.
As we round the corner, a bridge presents itself.
Looking back the way we came.
This view best shows the bridge crossing the ravine.
A set of curved steps leads you up to level ground again and over to an inground pool.
In this second property, I will show you both the front and back garden, which again was designed around a steeply sloping ravine. Neil Turnbull did the design work for this lovely garden.
The artful front garden is sunken and almost invisible from the street. A set of steps lead you past a water feature and down into to a beautiful courtyard garden.
Vines including hydrangea and kiwi envolope the walls of this sunken garden.
The sound of water nicely masks any street noise. On the right is one of the three still pools.
The front garden is lush and yet restrained. How do you imagine the back garden must look? For me, it was a wonderful surprise.
I am showing you this shot, not because it is a great picture, but because it best illustrates the dramatic slope of the back garden. The set of stone steps leads you down the steepest part of the ravine. From there, a series of paths wind the rest of the way down the slope.
Red pine needles add a note of colour to the plantings which include native trees and plants, ferns, azaleas, rhododendrons, hosta and hellebore.
At the bottom of the garden there is a seating area and two ponds connected by a stream. Unlike the front garden, this area feels wild and unrestrained, but make no mistake, it is thoughtfully considered and executed.
A hosta with blue-grey leaves breaks up all the green. The white flower in the left image is Goat's Beard, Aruncus dioicus. There were also a number of lovely Japanese ferns (right).
The little stone bridge crosses the stream connecting the two ponds.
Adding color were these big, purple alliums.
What do I suggest you take away from these two gardens?
If your property presents unique challenges, don't fight them, embrace them. A problem feature is just an opportunity to get creative.