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Coming up Roses: five homes for sale with gorgeous gardens

Whether you seek a sunny south-facing terrace or lush and rolling lawns, we’ve a glut of listings with horticultural heft to lust over

Coming up Roses: five homes for sale with gorgeous gardens

We know that a garden is for life, not just for summer, but there’s no better time to mull over the draw of the great outdoors. The back yards and gardens of houses up and down the country start to glimmer with potential: lawns cry out for games, shady arbours for long dappled lunches… Happily, we’ve a whole host of listings with handsome horticultural offerings, which we’ve rounded up here. Whether you like your grounds with a certain grandness, or you’re more interested in growing greens, we’ve something for you. And one thing’s for sure: there’s nothing common or garden about this lot.

Barnham Court, Barnham, West Sussex

Best for: topiary enthusiasts

The word ‘manicured’ is bandied rather too often when it comes to gardens, but we feel those belonging this Grade I-listed Baroque house deserve such a description. As refined and painstakingly restored as its rooms, they couldn’t be neater, nor more elegant. We wouldn’t be surprised if there were lawn scissors involved.

Designed by the current owners, the Anglo-Dutch formal gardens were created to sit within the natural landscape, working with rather than against the existing trees and lawns. The ornamental parterre gardens provide a certain rhythm, while classically shaped hornbeams, yew pyramids and other terrific topiary hedges bring a bit of jauntiness.

Privacy was a key consideration in this garden’s composition, making a hazy afternoon here all the more blissful. Balance was important too – and this garden has a wild counterpoint to its more formal countenance. Alongside the more conventional arrangements, a separate area of the garden has been left as a miniature reserve. Around an 18th-century pond, formerly an 11th-century monastic brick pit, nature has been left to its own devices. Bordered by woodland and a small river, this quiet quarter is a haven for wildlife, the owners say, a heavenly spot “in which wildlife thrives”. As it happens, we think we might rather thrive here too.

Kingston Road, Lewes, East Sussex

Best for: lawn-lovers of every stripe

While some favour a no-mow approach, the Striped-Lawn Brigade is still going strong. Whatever side you take in the turf wars, the rolling grassy garden of Kingston Road is sure to excite you. Facing south-west, the lawn is fringed by herbaceous borders and flowering shrubs, while tall trees shelter it from wind, noise and neighbours. It’s also expansive – good for games of all sorts and with a footprint easily large enough for a marquee. Start plotting your parties.

Given the house’s elevated position overlooking the nearby South Downs, the garden has exceptional views of the hummocky chalk hills, designated as not one but two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A short drive away, the Downs afford wonderful walking options for when you’re looking for greenery further afield, while opposite the house are some fantastic – and extensive – playing fields, ideal for shorter ambles.

When you return, happily mud-spattered, be sure to make the most of that covered outdoor porch. Plumbed in with hot water, it’s not just good for welly-boot washing, but for giving dirty – and rather fortunate – dogs a shower. No more shivering spaniels.

Saltoun Hall, Pencaitland, East Lothian

Best for: green-fingered growers

Fancy gardens galore without the whopping floorplan? Consider Saltoun Hall, a Scottish castle half an hour from Edinburgh that’s been divvied up into nine apartments, each of which has been apportioned a generous slice of the surrounding grounds.

Ample shared space offers any future buyers all the benefits of such grandeur, but without the weeding. There’s a large wildflower meadow as well as plentiful borders and delightful old yews and lilacs, whose summer scent is nonpareil. Residents are welcome to forage for garlic and mushrooms, as well as to use the communal areas freely – to read, sunbathe, dine or wander as they wish.

But the real beauties are to be found in this apartment’s smaller allotted area, which had been designed as a working kitchen garden. Fruit trees, full of the promise of autumn, join herbs, veg patches and cutting beds for perfect posies. There’s even a greenhouse, meaning there’s really no excuse for no tomatoes – just be sure to get some marigolds in there, to keep the pests at bay.

The Coach House, Hitchin, Hertfordshire

Best for: the wild at heart

A river runs through it – or almost, at least. To be precise: the clear waters of the Oughton flow along one edge of the Coach House’s garden, while a mill race (a channel for powering a wheel), brackets the other. We have it on good authority that the soft sing-song of cuckoos can sometimes be heard in the nature reserve next door, no doubt hale and hearty from feasting on the watercourses’ frogs and bugs.

Nature such as this – untrammelled, unfussed with – is a defining feature of this garden, which has a large and deliberate wild section. Native trees, including weeping willows, encourage an abundance of fauna, while a wildflower meadow brings biodiversity as well as beauty.

None of this is to say there aren’t corners created for more human interaction. In fact, much of this half-acre is designed for just that. Over the course of 15 years the current owners have cultivated an organic garden and orchard, with apples, pears and quinces joining soft-fruit trees and flowerbeds. This is a place for an enthusiastic gardener, but it will pay you back in kind. Besides, after a hard day’s pruning, is there any better place to pause than on that terrace, the greenery falling away below? We think not.

Hornsey Rise Gardens, London N19

Best for: urban gardeners without a mower

Who says you even need a lawn? There’s much to be said for a grass-free garden, not least the hours you’ll save on mowing. The charming back garden of this Victorian house in north London makes the case convincingly.

What could have been lawn here has been turned into terrace. Our first thought is that it’s perfect for parties – just think of the table set-up you could have, surrounded by leafy greenery. Speaking of which, there’s no shortage of verdant herbage here, where a eucalyptus – lovely in flower arrangements – rubs shoulders with peonies and a plum. We’ve spied a very healthy-looking clematis too.

It’s almost too lovely not to spend every moment in – hence the current owners’ decision to wire a plug into the gazebo. Is WFG a thing? It is now.

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