How to design a dating website

The materials and colour scheme are all carefully chosen both to harmonise with the cottage, but also to try and reproduce a "farmyard aesthetic", using unadorned powder-coated steel to stand in for cast iron for the rills, drainage channels and spouts, and clay creasing tiles to cap the pool edges.

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Despite its many fascinating qualities, the house was essentially inward looking, and the clients asked me to create a pair of linked "outdoor rooms" for them to use to lounge in the sun or dine in the shade.

For design inspiration I turned to the dominant western aesthetic for the period during which much of the constuction of the house took place: the Renaissance.

The space is broken up by the square light well which gives on to the ground floor "winter garden".

With such a large amount of brickwork and decking creating a heat trap, the main priority was to clothe the roof with planting, but also to create a functional "outdoor room" with spaces for relaxing and dining, and plenty of built-in storage.

I used themes that can still be seen in some of the great preserved villa gardens of Italy: strong central axies, and a layout based on nested squares and circles.

Materials are also sympathetic to the context of the building (essential in this case, where Listed building consent had to be obtained before the project could proceed): natural sandstone paving in mixed sizes; handmade red bricks specially made to match the slim tudor bricks of the house; green oak for the pergola.

Dwarf Box edging and Box Balls symmetrically placed at corners are a nod to Renaissance planting, but otherwise the plant selection has been driven mostly by considerations of longevity of seasonal interest and ease of maintenance.

The climbers to be trained over the pergola feature Clematis viticella for flowers and Vitis coignetiae with its huge leaves for dappled shade.

Plants were selected for their ability to survive the hot, dry atmosphere.

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