There are occasions when you are stumble across something with such inherent charm that it stops you in your tracks - and this is the case with the amazing garden by renowned Garden Designer Arne Maynard for his own home in Monmouthshire, Wales.
Allt -y- Bella is a 15th Century Elizabethian property just over the Welsh Border, nestled in the soft wooded hills that the Border County is known for. Arne (a leading British Garden designer and Gold Medal winner at Chelsea) bought the house and has approached the garden design in a very different way to his previous property on the other side of the U.K which had a much more formal aesthetic.
Here, the surrounding soft landscape that has remained largely unchanged for centuries is integral to the garden design with any formal planting reserved for near the house, and then the more free-forming and natural style planting progressing outwards into the landscape.
Topiary trees are a signature for Arne, and he has spoken of the topiary trees that are nearer the property being similar to guests attending a party "congregating around the house". Again, careful not to appear overly designed, he avoided symmetry and pruned the trees in groups of varying heights and shapes. He is also using trees that are more usually found in the hedge-rows around the fields such as hornbeam and field maples - exploring the juxtaposition of something synonymous with the surrounding landscape with a formality it is unaccustomed to.
The area below to sit and contemplate the garden is sheltered courtesy of espaliered crab apple trees.
Stunning herbaceous borders with rambling roses abound, and the only real formality is within the beautiful kitchen garden stocking vegetables for use in the Bed and Breakfast ( a few rooms at the house are given to this) and fruit trees that are traditional in the area - such as Perry Pear tree varieties.
Here we see any formality giving way to longer grass and wildflowers in keeping with Arne's more relaxed approach to this design.
In today's busy hectic world it is reassuring to know that Arne (who's work takes him internationally) has planned this garden to be as manageable as possible.
Of course, with a garden this beautiful it stands to reason that the house interiors must also be pretty special don't you think?! We couldn't resist taking a look....
Where ever you are in the world I hope that you can take some inspiration from the approach that Arne has taken, in designing his own garden so that it is intrinsically linked to it's surrounding environment.
It is also a joy to explore a garden that has such a timeless appeal, where it brings out the best in the property it surrounds as well as the landscape it sits in.