• Rob Lawson

A Pennine Country Garden at Salvin House Alston

When we bought Salvin House, the first priority had to be the interiors. We tidied up the garden and had some initial groundworks done, but time and budgets meant we couldn't do it all straight away. Now, we finally have a Cumbrian cottage garden that fits both the property and the setting, giving our guests somewhere to chill out and relax on their countryside vacation.



When we purchased the property, the outside area was a mess, dominated by a ramshackle panelled garage, surrounded by weeds and rubbish. As Salvin House Alston is a Grade II-listed building, even demolishing the garage required full planning permission, which took around three months to obtain. We've been told there was laugher at the parish council when they were asked to vote on it.


Anyway, that was almost a year ago and we finally now have a garden that fits the house.We started by deciding to segregate the garden and the parking area as gates weren't really a practical option and many guests require a secure area for their dogs. We also decided to create a series of terraces to work with the varied levels of the garden, and we wanted to go for a country cottage theme, inspired by the legendary garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll.



When we eventually got planning permission, it even stated that the fencing had to be painted sage green - that's the sort of detail they go into. The original plan was to have a terrace for a hot tub, but we eventually decided that the maintenance for this was too much, so it's now our washing line and barbecue terrace.


Most of the garden has been gravelled and, when we dug out the new terrace, we came across the old wash tub for the house, which has been repurposed as a wildflower planter. We also used the old sandstone paving to create edging for the borders and build an alpine rockery. To hide the ugly concrete foundation of the garage, we used artificial grass to create a contrast to the gravel, and a gazebo was also built to protect our guests from the unpredictable Pennine weather.




Finally, the planting. In addition to the wildflower planter, which we hope will become a magnet for bees and butterflies, we also created two deep borders and planted these with perennials based on Gertrude Jekyll planting schemes. One of these was actually started in 2021, so it's already well on the way to maturity, whereas the other was started this year, so needs some time to fill out.


The final touch is a Gertrude Jekyll rose bush, which serves as the centrepiece of the border between the grass terrace and the barbecue terrace, creating a focus for a garden that should give our guests plenty of relaxation and enjoyment for years to come.

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