Modern sunken garden

The existing conditions in this Modern Sunken garden were that there was an extreme drop off in gradient to the top left hand side of the garden.  Being an east facing garden this was also the sunniest spot in the evening which lead us to decide to implement a sunken patio area with rendered walls.


Using the block and render walls also gave us the opportunity to level up the area and create raised beds behind the patio to give the new seating area a setting.  It’s always a good idea to give a new seating area a setting in the form of planting or by using a built structure such as a pergola or planting bed otherwise a new patio or deck which isn’t linked to the house can look like it’s landed out of nowhere !


To further add interest to the clean look of this garden we offset the steps down to it, staggering the planting beds and planting them with exotic, lush planting.  The modern, contemporary feel is completed by the use of sawn sandstone paving in a single module size (300mm X 600mm) and laid in a staggered pattern.


Again the built element of the retaining walling allowed us to flatten off and level the top patio (the whole garden had originally been laid to grass which sloped dramatically down from high to left making it largely unusable.)


The client liked the modern feel of tropical, lush style planting, but to make this work in the UK we had to choose plants that could withstand the harsh winters that we experience here in the North West!  Plants such as Trachycarpus fortuneii can withstand lows of -12-17 if they are relatively mature plants even without protection though the tree ferns would need fleecing in the late Autumn to ensure they make it through the Winter months.


Planting List includes:

  • Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Dicksonia antarctica
  • Fatsia japonica
  • Festuca glauca
  • Heuchera Obsidian
  • Phormium ‘Black Beauty’


Materials include :

Natural Sawn Sandstone ‘Buff’ and similar at :







Contemporary Gardens

garden, modern, sandstone, sunken