This extraordinary hilltop site was utterly neglected and barren. A thin scrape of weak topsoil over chalk and a few squirrel-damaged trees in a rabbit infested woodland. In less than two years it was transformed into an elegant series of gardens set in quiet parkland, with red kites wheeling overhead. The hilltop location gave the chance to make a lot of drama in a relatively contained space; doors open onto staggering views and every route has a series of surprises. The bastion gives tremendous views over unspoilt English countryside. Given the proximity to London the miracle of the landscaping is that there isn’t the slightest sense of the modern world intruding on the idyll.
Image credits: Jason Ingram; Charlie Hopkinson; Andrew Montgomery