Porphyry Setts Down The Garden Path: Alexandra Noble’s ‘Health And Wellbeing Garden’ At RHS Hampton
‘A garden to encourage deep thinking via a continuous path with no start or end point. The visitor moves through the space without a destination – a space which is defined by motion rather than walls. The aim of the garden is to slow one’s pace, mind and encourage a sense of being in the moment.’ - www.alexandranoble.com
RHS Hampton Court is now in full swing, and we were kept very busy on a hot and sunny Press Day by visiting all of the fourteen gardens that featured our stone and hard landscaping products. This included some pretty exciting projects, such as the RHS’s ‘Evolve: Through The Roots Of Time’ garden and Ann-Marie Powell’s ‘BBC Countryfile 30th Anniversary’ garden.
A few months back, Alexandra and Ed Burnham from Burnham Landscaping came to visit us at our London East – West Thurrock depot to discuss the design with our Managing Director, Giles Heap. Alexandra presented her designs to Giles, which included some very narrow, tightly curved paths that would circle around different sections of the garden.
The paths would encourage people to walk through and feel immersed in the garden whilst brushing past the greenery, which would include plants with scented or botanical qualities such as fragrant fennel and mint. Alexandra was keen to use our Clay Pavers in one uniform shade to lay on the paths, as she liked the simplistic and rustic style they would potentially bring to her garden.
Giles immediately advised that the tight radius of the path’s circles couldn’t be created with the longer rectangular-shaped Clay Pavers, making a quality curved finish difficult to achieve, especially in the internal curves. One of the biggest challenges the garden presented was working within particularly tight budgets for such a detailed show garden, as well as meeting show deadlines. This meant that build work would have to be kept as minimal as possible for Ed and his team. At CED Stone Group, we know full well that it can be tricky to find the perfect stone material for a designer’s scheme, but there’s always a solution and with our expert knowledge you can be assured that there is nobody better placed to help you to find it!
It was vital that the paths would help the space to flow, rather than looking like a solution had simply been thrown together to solve a problem. Giles, Ed and Alexandra spent some time discussing some different options for the paths, including the idea of using gravel for the sections with tighter circles. Our CEDEC Footpath Gravel was a strong contender, as it would blend in well with the colours of the Clay Pavers that Alexandra wanted.
Everything changed, however, when Giles showed them our Porphyry Setts. Alexandra immediately loved the darker, rustic purple tones and textures that the stone would bring to the design, and they would have a wonderful aged and reclaimed effect. Giles showed them some pictures of Porphyry Setts traditionally laid in curved fan patterns in Italian and Spanish squares and piazzas, and that sealed the deal.
The paths curve round a range of different features which sit in the middle of the circles, including a wicker sculpture, a curved bench planted with camomile, a round planting bed filled with thyme and a large, still pool.
The still water acts as a mirror, perfectly reflecting the sky above, but small streams of babbling water also run through the garden as a contrast. The option of using Paddlestones to line the bottom of the pond was discussed, but that would have made the project much more labour-intensive. So Alexandra decided on using our polished pebbles, which would look glassy and attractive under the still pool and help to create babbling ripple sounds as the water runs over them in the moving streams.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 runs from 2nd - 8th July. If you are planning on designing a garden for a flower show or event and would like to discuss the possibility of using hard landscaping products from CED Stone Landscape, then please do contact us and we will do our best to support your project.