Contemporary garden for children designed by Cherry Mills


This new house was built on sloping ground. To retain the soil in the back garden, the builder had constructed a dominating 3m high rendered retaining wall. The garden levels were split into two, with the main lawn area nearly a meter higher than the levels around the house. Not only was this design problematic because it divided the garden in two, but the wall and steps up to the lawn were a hazard for my client’s small children.

The solution to the problem was to lower the upper garden level and install another retaining wall at the back to make up for this reduction. Care had to be taken to maintain the integrity of the existing wall, with specialist structural engineering input. An unused garden office was removed.

To counter balance the dominant, but necessary, white horizontal walling around the garden, the new planting has key blocks of evergreen Yew hedging which form several vertical pillars at both levels. Vibrant planting in between the blocks softens the walling. There is now a larger dining space and the new relaxed seating area, on composite decking, makes an inviting place to sit in the corner of the garden. Previously unused space at the side of the house is now a safe children’s play area, screened off from the dining area with decorative Corten steel screens. The larger, easily accessible lawn, is a great space for the children to safely play on.



"From the beginning of our project Cherry expertly guided us through the process, being responsive, adapting to our changing needs and adding value at every stage. Our project involved extensive excavation and hard landscaping, which Cherry competently oversaw. When it came to the garden design and planting plan, her methodical approach and creative flair has created a space which has fulfilled every aspect of our brief, whilst exceeding our expectations as to what could be achieved. We have now spent a year watching the garden grow and develop and her clever planning has meant that we continually have different areas of interest within the garden, which is a pleasure to see."

Mr and Mrs D.G., Cobham, Surrey, 2020