"The garden is looking great - the plants are maturing; I've got a second plant for the pool and it really is lovely at the moment. We're delighted with it."
Rather than a space for being outdoors in, the clients wanted an attractive space to look out on and occasionally visit.
The courtyard needed to be low maintenance yet provide interest throughout the year.
They liked informal Italianate styling and natural-feeling materials and traditional settings, yet were prepared to be adventurous.
They liked the idea of water in the courtyard, to bring reflected light into the kitchen.
Little sunlight reached the courtyard in winter. There were no views out from the courtyard.
The view from the kitchen window was dominated by peeling white paint on the brick wall.
The courtyard was damp because of overspilling drains and leaking downpipes.
The stripped brick wall was used to create a gorgeous backdrop for a garden tableau.
Brick, cobbles, pebbles, stoneware ammonites, gravel and mirrors were all used to provide textural interest.
A spiral pathway presented an invitation to come in and linger.
Dappled light was brought into the kitchen; ripples mirrored from the pond.
The gravel and cobbles were laid on top of the existing sound paving, to reduce costs.
Although the spiral path was set in mortar, the gravel alongside was loose, so that rainwater could drain away underneath.
Planting was mainly evergreen for year-round interest. Strong structure from clipped yews was contrasted with softer planting since the clients "enjoyed the variety of colour and texture that foliage can create."