Garden Designers Round Table Post on Water: Pause for Reflection

| July 26, 2011 | 26 Comments

One of the simplest ways

 of using water in garden design

is as a still reflective pool

One of the most elegant is a canal.

And here at Bryan’s Ground in Herefordshire they cleverly combine both.

For those that do not know this gem-like garden, aside from a substantial arboretum with elegant allees, it is largely a garden of rooms.

Thronged with topiary

Busy with borders

And then there is this:

There are five entrances to this yew bound enclosure:

These give interlocking vistas through to other areas.

But there remains here a great sense of privacy:

In plan the canal is a bit like a rectilinear dog’s bone.

The single clump of waterlily and iris is like a splash arrested in a Hockney painting.

And here is the dog. With a seat to regard him from afar.

Eight trees make loose elegant sentinels and provide reflecting material.

You figure he was a very special dog.

Its that sort of place!

Lesley and Robert…….

….but don’t stop reading because…….

our fellow bloggers stateside of the pond will have their own imaginative ways with water so please now go check out their posts using the links below:

Debra Lee Baldwin : Gardening Gone Wild : Escondido, CA

Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin TX

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

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Category: Design Bites, Reviews of Gardens and Shows, The Planty Stuff

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  1. Cabernat says:

    That looks very tranquil. Just the kind of place to sit and contemplate.

    Mary x

  2. Robert says:

    Yes its was! I’ve given up reading about gardens ahead of visiting them and just soak up how i feel about them. You felt there was a story behind this garden and if there wasn’t I kinda invented one!
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. James Golden says:

    Love this place. You’re right. The hint of story is a little mysterious and draws you in, just as the reflecting canal’s long line draws your eye in, to more questions. Such restraint and care in selection of detail.

  4. […] Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK […]

  5. The simplicity and elegance of features like this one are hard to beat–very classic! Love those pics–thanks, Robert!

  6. Robert says:

    Dear James,
    Completely agree!
    Thanks for your comment.

  7. Robert says:

    Hi Jenny,
    Agree! There are times when OTT is fun, but long term I guess that restraint wins.
    Thanks so much for your comment.

  8. I adore it when a designers uses vistas so well! It’s such a thoughtful design technique. Great post!

  9. […] Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK […]

  10. Ivette Soler says:

    How enchanting and peaceful! Oh WHEN will I get to go to England and visit all of the glorious gardens? Do you guys need an intern? I’m a really good cook and make a mean martini…

  11. Robert says:

    there was certainly a restful and reflective feel and I liked that the trees both concealed and revealed. thanks so much for your comment. best r

  12. Robert says:

    Now the mean martini is distinctly attractive! hicccccup!

  13. Alice Joyce says:


    I like this rather unusually shaped reflecting canal.

    And that’s all I have to say!

  14. Tara Dillard says:

    Water,focal points, groundcover, trees, walls of shrubs, entries, seating, axis, color, & etc……

    This garden is a jewel of everything GOOD about landscape design.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  15. Robert says:

    Alice, the comment tho brief will do very nicely. Brevity being the soul of wotever!

  16. Robert says:

    Hi Tara,
    Yes too right, they have it all covered! Such taste!
    Thanks for your comment.
    Tara, I am sumtimes rather dumb about leaving comments and didn’t seem to be able to leave one on yours.
    Loved the slimey dribble across the lion’s face! Not all has to be hygienic if we don’t want it.
    I think it was one of those moments when we were really saying the same thing: simplicity!

  17. I’m afraid that the water features in my region (western USA) have become a cliche of heaps of gargantuan boulders and crashing water.
    Your featured space represents the PEACEFUL serenity that water can be.
    Thanks for the calm!

  18. Robert says:

    Hi Jocelyn,
    Do you think that natural is more difficult to get right than formal?
    I think it maybe.
    In any case yes calm is important – in borders, in water, in landscape generally. Not all the time of course. But this area represented a change of pace for me.
    Thanks for your comment.
    Hope had good hols?

  19. Being a dog lover, I’m particularly fond of this water feature (and sculpture, of course). Absolutely beautiful!

  20. Robert & Lesley,

    Just as I was imagining what the rest of Bryan’s Ground must look like, you summed it up in six words… ‘Thronged with topiary’ and ‘Busy with borders’. Love it!

  21. Robert says:

    So not biased then!! :-)
    Absolutely lovely I agree and just so meditative.
    Thanks so much for your comment.

  22. Robert says:

    Hi Debbie,
    We will be writing a review of Bryan’s Ground shortly with more pics (when time allows!).
    Gather you have it very hot over there.
    Hope you guys are all ok?

  23. Genevieve says:

    Oh god, I can’t let my cats get a look at this. They’ll wonder why I haven’t created such a fine ode to their greatness.

    Thanks for the inspiration and beauty, Robert!

  24. Robert says:

    Hi there Genevieve,
    Have to say that, woken up in the middle of the night as I was and routinely am by my cats who totally control me, your comment made me chuckle.
    I often just turn to and do some work until I feel sleepy again.
    I suppose if I looked at a guidebook or read an article I would find out the inspiration for that, but always prefer to follow my nose and come to my own conclusions about a garden rather than allow someone else to preform them!
    For sure they love dogs.
    I saw one of the owners there with 3 , 2 of them clasping a lead between them so that they almost took me off my feet. So we had a good laugh about that.
    Thanks for your comment.

  25. A beautiful, peaceful, garden.

    I’ll echo Jocelyn’s comments, that most water “features” these days are odes to grandiosity, with a dash of testosterone. Most, natural in design, appear in the most unnatural of settings. I think that you are correct in that it might be more difficult to design water into the garden in a natural way, but when done well, the effect is brilliant. Too bad the new generation of “water sculptors” do not see the reflecting pool as worthy.

    Great post!

  26. Robert says:

    Hi Scott,
    ‘an ode to grandiosity with a dash of testosterone’ – I am going to remember that one and reuse!
    Thanks so much for your perceptive comments.