DAVID and Victoria Beckham’s stunning new country garden contains a natural swimming pond, a fruit orchard with 23 varieties of tree and is being crafted by a three-time RHS Chelsea Flower Show winner.
After buying three disused Grade II-listed barns in the quaint village of Great Tew, in the Cotswolds, the couple have spent a fortune on renovations to turn it into one family home.
The garden has been designed by Chelsea Flower Show winner, landscape designer Marcus Barnett.
Barnett has won three Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and is seen as ‘gardening royalty’.
The garden features will include a pergola, ‘natural swimming pond’ – which uses water recycled from the main house – and a fruit orchard of plum, pear, crab apple, wild cherry and witch hazel trees. In total, they will be planting 23 different types of trees.
David and Victoria have gone for the more ‘organic’ approach to the landscape, which means that they want to let the trees, bushes and plants run free rather than have a perfectly manicured garden.
Expert Heather Rhoades, Owner and Head Gardener at Gardening Know How, says that the ‘Secret Garden’ look – based on the children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, where a child hunts for an enchanted wild garden – is very popular, but needs a lot of effort.
She adds: “I think that the Beckhams have already shown that they have an interest in the gardens by deciding to have it put in. Most likely that interest will be ongoing as a garden is a living, changing thing. As time passes, they will need to make decisions to direct the gardening staff, however big or small that is, on what direction they would like their garden to go over time.
“The garden is to be a ‘wild’ garden, which is a style of garden that is deceptively high maintenance. Many people like the idea of a garden that looks nice but appears to be something from The Secret Garden where everything is beautiful and overgrown after being forgotten by all but time. In reality, a lot of work is needed to keep a ‘wild’ garden looking naturally wild while still aesthetically pleasing.
“This is certainly a massive gardening project. Just the sheer number of plants that they plan on putting in will be quite expensive, and then to that you must pay to have the landscaping staff to put these plants in as well as the hardscaping that goes along with a project like this.”
But they’ve not just left the contractors to it, with a neighbour claiming that David has come by his house loaded with gardening gear in his recent car purchase, an old fashioned £35,000 Land Rover.
“David has been very visible around the Tewa area, along with his dog, he seems to enjoy spending time here,” says the local.
The Beckhams will have nearly one hundred different varieties of plants, shrubs and flowers in the garden.
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When the garden is finished, a natural hedgerow will surround the whole perimeter, giving the family complete privacy.
They’ve also hidden their controversial treehouse, which they built before planning permission was approved, which infuriated neighbours. Local David Holland wrote to the council: “I feel it makes a mockery of the planning procedure… This seems to be the norm for [the Beckham house]. Normal folk would be made to take this down and apply for permission using the proper procedure.”
When the family are out sunbathing or enjoying a barbecue, they’ve built a huge ‘wind-cheater’ mound in the south west corner – made up of “spoil from the site excavation”, which “provides screening and shelter from prevailing wind”, according to the approved plans submitted to West Oxfordshire District Council last year.
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