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Park House, Harston

Connecting with the land

Set in five acres of gardens and parkland, Park House is a large, Grade II-listed mid-Victorian village house just outside Cambridge. It has an imposing east front designed in a Tudor style. The house was originally surrounded by substantial ornamental gardens, with wide lawns, a fountain, pond and formal paths.

Our landscape design makes sense of the changed landscape setting, integrating various new built elements including a striking, modern kitchen pavilion and a pool house. Our vision was to restore and enhance the siting of the house within its grounds, and open up its connection with the parkland around it.

The new gardens have been laid out to create a contemporary space that references the original arrangement of the site. A wide lawn extends away from the house, with long views out to the orchard and wildflower meadow beyond. A new stone terrace ‘floats’ above ornamental plant beds, following a strong diagonal axis that reflects the historic arrangement of the garden and frames the main elevation of the house.

The plant beds are bisected by gravel paths, and arranged around a series of reflecting water tanks; the planting is a joyous mix of structural grasses and massed herbaceous plants, including many that are attractive to wildlife for their nectar and berries. The beds on the north side of the garden have been set aside for growing fruit and vegetables in an informal kitchen garden.

“We wanted to create joyful, exuberant planting where people could lose themselves.”