K's Garden

Building a large garden on a budget

Knot Garden Saturday 4 May 2019


Designing The Knot Garden – 2018

There is a patch of rough grass in front of the house, at the start of the garden. I left it to last as the planned Parterre will be relatively quick to mature, and I wanted to prioritise planting of trees and creation of features, elsewhere in the garden, which will take many years to mature.

June 2018

The skinny Box in the foreground will become a topiary balustrade – hopefully!

The sort of thing I had in mind was a Knot Garden:

Washington Old Hall – Knot Garden

I’ve just mowed it, periodically, during the Summer. 10 years ago it looked like this:


The two areas of rough-grass either side are candidates for the Knot Garden, but lack symmetry and don’t line up perpendicular to the house.


I’ve wrestled with this over the years and now, at long last, I think I have a solution.


The red lines are distorted in the picture, but are actually parallel and perpendicular to the house. This leaves
a variable width piece of “dead space” on the left and a triangle on the right – where basically the path to the right is at an angle, but is a direct link between the Conservatory and the opening to the right-hand Blue and White shrubbery border. So I decided that the right hand side should be a tall-ish hedge and would separate the knot-garden from the rest of the garden off to the right and, given that, might as well do the same on the left which will screen and hide the front of the barn.

As I have done in the past for new hedges and the like, I mowed a criss-cross pattern for the parterre – in a normal year after a couple of weeks the grass would have grown back and I would then be able to try a different mowing-pattern … Summer of 2018 was rather too dry for that!

My first attempt had the central path aligned with, and the same width as, the double-row of Topiary yews behind, but the Knot garden area was too narrow and made the criss-cross look unbalanced, so I then tried stealing some space from the central path, such that the vista-path would be narrower:

Wider criss-cross pattern

That improves the width-to-length aspect considerably, although just extending the pattern means that:

  • They don’t meet at a point, with the edge, in the insides
  • The diagonals on the left do not align with the diagonals on the right – I think I need to lay it out so that that is the case.

Having tried that I did wonder if I should break it into 4 squares – splitting each side into two – font and back – and starting from the middle and then having a gap on the outsides between the “point” at which the diagonals meet, and the taller, outside, hedge. So more mowing-pattern tests are needed, when the grass has recovered a bit!, so that I then reach a “final design”.

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