DETERMINED gardener Janet Howell has made the earth move in order to transform a challenging plot into a beautiful plant-packed space. Three years of living with an unattractive 3ft (90cm) gap between her 1820s cottage and a retaining wall was more than enough for this passionate plant lover, who brought in a JCB to modify the dramatic slope behind her home.
At the same time she gave careful thought to ways to make the most of the natural topography of her outside space, with a pond, waterfall and attractive stone steps capitalising on the changes in levels.She found room for a patio, too, which has been turned into a more intimate spot for dining through the use of a trellis covered in climbers such as a rose, honeysuckle and golden hop.
Three decades on, the almost wraparound plot surrounding the detached home Janet shares with her husband Steve in Endon, Staffordshire, is very much a traditional cottage garden, with almost every inch filled with plants.
The area in front of the property is formal yet pretty, with a square of box embracing a sundial and various other pieces of topiary teamed with colourful borders and a small lawn that provides a foil for the exuberant planting.
Water adds an extra dimension
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Toby decides which plants to ‘tuck up’ for winter so they are primed for growth in spring next year
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