September tenth, 2023 Posted In: Backyard traits & design

In the event you search for backyard ruins or follies within the dictionary, you can be instructed that they’re ‘pricey decorative buildings with no sensible objective.’

Nonetheless, the dictionary clearly wasn’t written by gardeners. Backyard ruins and follies have a number of sensible makes use of in your backyard.

They could be a focus. They could be used to divide up the house in a backyard.

And, in line with William Dyson, curator of Nice Comp Backyard in Kent, they’ll create a ‘micro-climate’ for rising completely different vegetation.

Ruins and follies additionally add top to your backyard, he says. You’ll be able to develop climbers up them or use them to show vegetation.

And so they may help shield tender vegetation from the prevailing wind.

You might even flip your backyard shed right into a folly. You might nonetheless use it as a backyard shed, as Roger Lloyd did in an evergreen backyard with a contact of grandeur.

And on high of all that, backyard ruins and follies add drama and fantasy to your outside house.

Many visitors mistake the 'Old Ruins' at Great Comp Garden for the remains of a monastery - but they were built in the 1980s by Eric Cameron to use up leftover Kentish ragstone and flint.

Many guests mistake the ‘Previous Ruins’ at Nice Comp Backyard for the stays of a monastery – however they have been constructed within the Eighties by Eric Cameron. Eric and Pleasure Cameron created Nice Comp Backyard within the latter half of the twentieth century. When digging to create borders, Eric discovered an enormous quantity of Kentish ragstone and flint, so he created the ‘Ruins’ to make use of them up.

Backyard ruins and follies don’t must be costly

Follies are a part of the design language of the good historic French and English gardens, with their Classical or Gothic temples, pavilions and ‘ruins’.

However they don’t must be costly.

Nice Comp Backyard is well-known for its follies and backyard ruins. They make the backyard really feel magical and mysterious, however they have been created within the final half of twentieth century by Eric Cameron.

When he dug out the borders at Nice Comp, he needed to take away an enormous quantity of Kentish ragstone and flint. So he created the ‘ruins’ to make use of up the supplies. He additionally saved a pointy eye out for salvaged supplies and ‘job tons’ he picked up as bargains. He even did a lot of the work himself.

So I requested William Dyson about what backyard ruins and follies might do for our personal gardens.

The Tower at Great Comp Garden

‘The Tower’ at Nice Comp Backyard was constructed by Eric Cameron within the late Eighties. He created the peak by piling up discarded motorbikes, washing machines, TVs and different issues that have been being thrown away, then protecting them in concrete. ‘There’s a small municipal tip beneath the Tower’ says William Dyson. ‘He used discarded gadgets so he didn’t have to make use of a lot concrete.’

Use architectural salvage and purchase seconds

Nice Comp is a lesson on utilizing what you’ve bought and re-using something you should purchase cheaply. Eric Cameron was pleased with being Scottish and thrifty, and he did a lot of the work himself.

The Italian Backyard at Nice Comp is successfully a small walled backyard inside the primary backyard. So it’s extra sheltered and the partitions retain the solar’s warmth.

Eric Cameron was provided a’ job lot’ of bricks by a builder. He additionally went to Chilstone, which makes reconstituted stone backyard ornaments and architectural stone. ‘There have been ‘seconds’ mendacity round within the yard,’ says William. And since they’d been left exterior, they’d already began to look properly aged.

Additionally they continued to make use of the flint stones they’d dug up from the borders.

Additionally look in architectural salvage yards and on change websites, corresponding to Fb Market or Freegle.

The Italian Garden at Great Comp

Eric Cameron was provided an inexpensive ‘job lot’ of bricks which he used to create The Italian Backyard within the early Nineties (high picture). The 2 partitions create a sheltered micro-climate to allow them to develop tender vegetation, corresponding to tetrapanax and dahlias in it.

How backyard ruins and follies have an effect on vegetation

William defined {that a} backyard wreck or folly can create a micro-climate in an effort to develop particular vegetation.

At its easiest because of this a wall (it should most likely be a crumbling or damaged wall!) has two sides. In the event you place it from East to West, you create a south-facing facet and a north-facing one.

The south going through facet will get the solar, which can warmth the brick or stone. The brick or stone then offers off that warmth at evening. So that you’ll create an space that’s just a bit hotter and extra sheltered than the extra open areas of your backyard.

On the opposite facet of the wall, will probably be shady and funky. That will likely be excellent for ferns or epimediums, says William.

And also you place your wall to defend the vegetation from the prevailing wind, too.

The 'Old Ruins' at Great Comp in Kent

The ‘Previous Ruins’ at Nice Comp are a sequence of apparently crumbling ragstone partitions with the stays of doorways and home windows. One facet is sheltered, dry and sunny and the opposite facet is shady, giving William extra planting choices. And as a substitute of an open house, the partitions and planting cease the wind.

Divide up house or add top

Nice Comp Backyard was initially pretty open and flat. Now a myriad of paths entice you into the planting, with partitions and doorways main you on a magical journey. At each flip you come throughout a ruined cottage…or is it a ruined fort?

Sometimes, you look down, to see what seems to be fragments of an previous ground.

Many people mistake the 'Old Ruins' for a monastery.

Many individuals mistake the Previous Ruins at Nice Comp for the stays of a monastery. In truth, Eric Cameron added them to make use of up backyard flints and to create windbreaks and break up backyard house.

Backyard ruins as a focus

You might select a spire, a tower or a temple. Or you possibly can add a statue or an urn to a wall or archway.

Invoice and Lynda Rudgard noticed a Gothic window in a salvage yard and purchased it instantly. It was one in every of a set of home windows from a demolished church in Halifax. They shipped it right down to their house in Kent, and had it set in flint and stone. They’ve sited it on the finish of their backyard overlooking farmland, including some upright stones and pavers within the floor to present the impression that that is all that continues to be of an previous church.

An old church window as a focal point

Invoice and Lynda Rudgard purchased this previous church window from an architectural salvage yard to make a focus on the finish of the backyard.

Statue at Great Comp

This considerate statue enhances the ‘crumbling’ partitions at Nice Comp and acts as a focus on the finish of a path.

Use backyard ruins as seating or raised beds

Incorporate seating or raised beds into garden ruins.

You’ll be able to incorporate seating or raised beds into crumbling partitions and backyard ruins, like this bench of flint and slate at Nice Comp.

Chances are you’ll have already got some ‘ruins’

In the event you’ve had a serious renovation in your house, you’ll understand how fascinating fragments of previous paint and paper are.

There was a collapsing conservatory in Mark Walker’s Victorian home. It wasn’t sensible to revive it or to exchange it with one other room. So Mark has turned it right into a terrace within the backyard, letting the marks of the earlier layers to be uncovered to the weather. (You’ll be able to see how he’s turned a shady city backyard into a up to date outside house with out shedding any of its character right here.)

And some of the magical gardens at RHS Chelsea 2023 was Cleve West’s backyard across the partitions of a ruined home. It had fairly an identical really feel to Mark’s again backyard.

Contemporary garden ruins - exposing the layers of a garden's past

Leaving partitions undecorated to point out the layers of paint and previous ornament is a up to date tackle ‘backyard ruins’. The highest picture is Mark Walker’s small city backyard in Margate and the picture above exhibits Cleve West’s present backyard for Centrepoint at RHS Chelsea 2023

The place to place backyard ruins and follies

William says that whenever you’re fascinated by creating backyard ruins or follies, you need to ‘seek the advice of the genius of the place’.

Meaning fascinated by the structure and environment. Do you need to be in concord with a selected architectural type? Or would you like a distinction?

Is your folly going to be purely decorative? Or do you need to use it to show or develop vegetation on? In that case, take into consideration the place the solar falls and the way the prevailing wind blows.

And take into consideration what it should appear like from each angle, together with what neighbours or passers-by might even see. Additionally take into consideration what you will note whenever you’re sitting in or in your backyard ruins, in the event that they’ve bought a seat.

The Temple at Great Comp

The Temple at Nice Comp creates a vista – there’s a lengthy path the width of the backyard with the Temple at its finish as a focus. And whenever you’re within the Temple, you possibly can see proper throughout the backyard, though the bushes have now grown over a lot of the view.

Do you want planning permission for follies and backyard ruins?

This very a lot relies on the place you reside. In most locations, you received’t want planning permission in case your folly or backyard wreck isn’t any greater than a backyard shed.

However new developments, listed buildings and another areas might have tight planning restrictions, so examine your native rules. In the event you can’t discover something particularly regarding follies, then take a look at what’s allowed by way of backyard sheds, tennis courts or different backyard constructions.

Visiting Nice Comp Backyard

Nice Comp is open from 10am-5pm from 1st March to thirty first October.

There are additionally occasions, such because the Bulbs N Issues Autumn Truthful on October fifteenth. You’ll discover high bulb suppliers, plus a specific group of bizarre garden-related stalls.

The backyard can also be open for particular occasions and workshops and can be employed for weddings.

It’s the house of Dyson’s Salvias, the UK’s main salvia nursery. Salvias are more and more standard within the UK as they flower for exceptionally lengthy durations. See William’s recommendation on salvias right here.


Great Comp Garden

Nice Comp in Kent has 7 acres of backyard, with distinctive salvias, grasses, herbaceous borders and ‘backyard ruins.’ Don’t miss the autumn Bulbs Truthful on October fifteenth.

See Nice Comp’s backyard ruins and follies in video

You may get a very good thought of what Nice Comp’s backyard ruins and follies appear like on this video, together with extra views of the opposite gardens proven.

Video on garden ruins and follies

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