The Farm House | Bolton, UK | Appletons

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Appletons were appointed as part of a design team to prepare a package of work to construct an orangery, additional accommodation, office and garage within the curtilage of an historic farm house building on the edge of the West Lancashire Pennine Moors near Belmont and within a Conservation Area.

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The client is a family with two young children with the requirement for space for the children to play but also somewhere for the parents to entertain guests and relax after their busy working day. The garden was tired, out dated and very wet with some large overgrown conifers and defunct water features.


Following extensive survey work and client consultation, three sketch schemes were created that were then amalgamated into a final design taking selected features from the sketch proposals. An existing stone field boundary wall that split the site into two was retained which helped to create two differently but complementary, themed gardens; one reflecting a more contemporary atmosphere and the other a more cottage/ traditional style with elements for today’s life style.


The materials were sourced from various channels, predominantly local suppliers and reclamation yards as the client wished to keep the materials as local as possible and in keeping with the character of the original stone farmhouse. New architectural elements which formed part of the overall setting to the garden included a new extension and garage with a glazed connecting walkway and an orangery. A large amount of reclaimed Yorkstone flags were used in the scheme and much of the stone for the walls was sourced from the site as a significant amount of stone (possibly a previous building) was found during excavation and ground works.


Technical problems encountered during the construction phase included excessive ground water runoff from the adjacent moorland into the garden, which required the garden to include an extensive drainage scheme that created constraints on the planting design. Further design challenges included the existing steep topography to allow useable areas of space that had been unavailable in the old garden. The design included a number of retaining walls that provided both attractive features and allowed areas of the garden to have a more gentle topography. Special requirements were made to meet the clients’ wish to design a garden for both adults and children. This required a certain degree of separation between the two as they had two very different design outcomes; areas to relax and entertain alongside areas to play. The completed garden provides integrated bespoke areas for both adults and children, helping to create a full family orientated garden.

Sourcing the unique reclaimed landscape materials posed challenging with certain elements of the build dictated by the amount of suitable reclaimed Yorkstone that was available. Balancing the construction phase with the planting season was critical in giving the advanced stock plants and trees successful establishment.


The design in some parts evolved as the project progressed with elements being modified or enhanced to fully respond to the clients’ aspirations as the garden began to take shape but also successfully delivering a technically sound design which reflected the sensitive setting of the area. The result is a garden that meets the clients’ brief and sits comfortably next to the older parts of the dwelling and the newer additional components.


Many garden features were introduced including pergolas, entertaining space, terraced patio areas, water features, stone walls, fire places, stone archway, sports pitch, mature fruit trees, planting areas and low retaining structures.


The planting has been designed to accompany the unique garden spaces that have been created, including a traditional cottage garden along with a more contemporary space featuring a large circular lawn surrounded by large fruit trees. These areas used reclaimed materials which allow them to blend in with their setting. Ponds, water features, lighting and an array for colourful wildlife attracting planting gives the garden all year round interest.


Design Firm | Appletons

Suppliers/ Other parties involved |
Good & Tillotson Ltd – Architects
J C Holdens Ltd – Contractors
Specimen Trees – Plant/ Tree Suppliers & Planting service 
Green Acres Landscape Services, Ossett, Yorkshire – Turf suppliers and contractors
Development Design Associates – Lighting Designers & Suppliers 

Garden size | 2,750m2
Timeline of development | Project start- April 2014. Sketch Design- June 2014. Contract/ construction phase start November 2014 to completion August 2015

Image | courtesy of Appletons

About Damian Holmes 5701 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at