Wrapping around the ochre-toned farmhouse, the enchanting country garden at Pheasant Farm is the product of 10 years of hard work. Lucie and Jonathan Neame bought the farmhouse, in the little village of Oare, Kent, and the property came with a half-an-acre garden – which consisted of little more than some mixed shrubs, insignificant borders, and a handful of trees – and an attached area of rough grass.

They left the garden as it was for a decade before deciding to start again from scratch. With the help of local garden designer Sarah Morgan and Millhouse Landscapes, it was reformed and replanted and the landscape designed with curves, circles and wavy-edged borders, with just a hint of formality.

Lucie’s country garden advice

  • Don’t be too prescriptive about your plantings – if something likes the spot, go with it
  • A top labour-saving idea for pots: instead of planting them up, simply drop planted plastic pots in them for an instant display. For example, plant tulips ready in plastic pots, then when they’re finished, replace with hydrangeas in the same way
  • When the conditions are quite tough – hot and dry in the summer then really wet in winter – adaptable plants are needed
  • Allow some plants to self-seed and pop up unexpectedly to add to the natural feel
  • Don’t cut plants down in winter – leave the seedheads to die off naturally and provide
    food for the abundant birds and insects

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country garden farmhouse

The country garden wraps around the farmhouse that dates from the 15th century, set behind a brick wall adorned with cascading iceberg roses

country garden curvy border

The herbaceous border and lawn are designed in curvaceous and flowing lines. Plants, such as lupins and poppies, are allowed to self-seed but kept in check by iron border guards that give perfect edges and also retain a sense of control

country garden lavender

Massed Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ is planted by the house, presenting a purple haze

country garden gravel area

Neat mounds of Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ set in gravel and containers of mini roses make a perfect yet simple and understated blend by the front of the house

country garden infinity lawn

A wall at the back of the country garden was removed to reveal magnificent views across the marshes and out to the sea. The ground was then built out and turfed to create an ‘infinity’ lawn. Perched at the edge, a sandpiper sculpture doubles as a bench for gazing out over the Oare marshes to the Swale estuary

country garden rustic shed

Outside the kitchen the paved area has the feel of a French farmhouse setting, augmented by artistically displayed reclaimed finds

country garden seating area

Alfresco dining is a delight at this outdoor seating area, shaded by the mature Kentish cobnut and while enjoying the scents of herbs, such as oregano and rosemary, planted in pots

country garden circular lawn and bench

Across the circular lawn is  Lucie’s pride and joy – the bench she painted in Paint and Paper Library’s astringent lime green Euphorbia, making a lovely contrast with the purple lavender

country garden pots on patio

Dolly the terrier relaxes on the patio area by the house, which has the feel of a Provençal farmhouse

country garden flower border

Colours in the borders throughout have been kept to a palette of blues, greys, purples and white, with the odd splashes of brighter tones, such as warm crimson and apricot

country garden foxgloves

There are borders for sun and shady areas, planted with layers of herbaceous choices and bulbs, from roses, Cornus kousa and hydrangeas to hostas and foxgloves