Writtle University College's garden space has been designed with a slick and clean layout to meet with contemporary fashion. Its goal is to provide useable space, function and community interaction, and it does this through aesthetic contribution to the environment and a seating area near the front. This design represents one half of a front garden, whereby the other half is dedicated to access a garage and to park a car. The surface of that half would be in the same style as the garden by using a modern product.
The garden does not have a gate, so as to not shut out the outside world. However, the trees and raised planters provide a visual barrier and seclusion for the house owner to feel secure. The seating at the front gives the owner a place to sit and communicate with passers-by and neighbours.
The planters and raised elements are constructed using a Japanese technique by burning the outer surface of the timber. This seals and protects the wood and eliminates the need for chemical treatment. The planters are set on the ground on pedestals over a surface of porcelain paving that allows rain water to flow through the gaps and into an underground SUD (Sustainable Urban Drainage) system. This would be the same for the drive, as the product can support several vehicles and is an easy system to install and repair, while also providing a non-slip surface. The SUD system will provide water storage to irrigate the planters, and excess water flows through the planters back into the system. When the SUD system is over-stretched the water can overflow into the front planting strip and this would link along the whole length of the road. Water can be absorbed by the plants, but whilst in the soil it would also slow down its migration towards the storm drainage system and aid in reducing flash flooding.
Bin storage will be located at the front of the garden for easy access and will blend in with the rest of the planters, with a slide out access for filling the bin or taking out on refuge collection days. A green roof will be planted on the bin area, and this same approach will be given to the bike storage area at the house end of the garden. A fence around the garden will link to the planter design with a side gate giving access to the parking area.
The trees will provide interest and shade, adding atmosphere to the garden. They also integrate the garden with the potential height of the house. In many cases the house can be a bold vertical space, and the trees will help bring this height down to a relative human scale.