High Weald farm, Kent

Our clients, the partner of a leading UK architects practice, tasked us to work with them as they rebuilt the existing derelict house to create a more typical Kent farmstead arrangement and vernacular, and restore a far more sympathetic relationship with the landscape. Their wish is to operate the farm as a productive small holding as well as their home, and providing luxury camping facilities in the summer months.

The area within the garden curtilage has a range of functional requirements: movement (pedestrian and machinery), productive growing, storage, screening, wind protection and access to livestock areas. Aesthetic and usage requirements focus very much on entertaining, cooking and socialising. A courtyard planted with exotic meadow and smoky Cotinus shrubs immerses the entertaining space, and a pool garden is surrounded by grasses, herbs and aromatics.

A desire to celebrate the long view down the north of the valley has been expressed as well as understanding the ‘big sky’ feel of this particular location. Our land art installation – the Modern Dew Ponds – is located within the expansive bowl landscape to the north of the house, reflecting the light in vast discs of water. These focus the eye on the fleeting, ephemeral qualities of the sky whilst also acknowledging the historical ways of capturing water within the landscape.