One Brook Cottages in April

Solid clay is a gardener’s worst nightmare, so when the Laytons were faced with a garden full of the stuff, they resolved not to lose sleep over it. ‘It was so heavy that we could barely dig it and nothing would grow, so the simplest solution was to bury it,’ they explain from their quarter-acre garden overlooking countryside. Today, tonnes of unwanted clay lie hidden beneath three broad terraces that rise behind their Victorian cottage. To many, this might seem a complex solution, but John, an engineer, easily turned his hand to bricklaying, gradually transforming a level plot into a terraced one, building a deck a delightful summerhouse on the top level. Since the plot is an irregular shape, the terracing has disguised this, making it much more interesting.

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