A Croft on the Cloud – a hillside in Cheshire

Our Croft proves to be an attractive as well as productive asset to an established garden overlooking the Cheshire Plain.

It’s one of those crystalline mornings in early autumn. Wide, clear, blue skies stretch from horizon to horizon. It’s calm, and there’s a nip in the air despite the warmth from the sun. We’re climbing the steep hillside of the aptly and atmospherically named The Cloud; a projection of pink sandstone commanding views across Cheshire, Shropshire and Derbyshire.

In the shadows of The Cloud our clients have converted an old dairy farm into a family home. Both avid gardeners, ploughing all their energy and experience into the acre of land that immediately surrounds their home. There’s 14 more, some playing host to a couple of donkeys and some chickens. A neighbouring farm rents out the rest.

The house was in complete disrepair 10 years ago, with the rest of the plot nothing more than a muck midden. Plenty of previous property and garden renovation experience left our owners undaunted, however.

“We’ve always gardened”.

Developing the garden over the years meant when they came to us, they had a clear idea of both what they wanted and how they would use the greenhouse.

“This greenhouse is for starting things off; seeds, potting on, splitting plants and nurturing the tender things.”

There’s another greenhouse, hidden away, which functions well for the cultivation of salad and vegetables for the table. But the Croft stands proudly overlooking the rest of the garden. A focal point which draws the eye through the planting and past, to the rolling hills and woods beyond.

“It’s added a huge element to the garden and been much admired”.

Discovering White Cottage while researching online, our clients had observed that there weren’t so many options if a greenhouse sitting on a dwarf wall was your ambition. And a huge, “ludicrous” disparity in both quality and cost.

Having a clear vision at the beginning of a project can sometimes be as much a hinderance as having no idea at all. It’s easy to become fixated on something which, the more you look for it, the less possible it seems to be.

“It’s what we were looking for. Exactly”.

Our limited range therefore felt like a positive. A focussed edit which facilitated quick and confident choices and reassured them we knew exactly what we were doing. The lack of bamboozling add-ons welcome in their absence. The fact that we were local was a final bonus.

All the neighboroughing buildings are made from the local pink sandstone so the greenhouse base wall had to follow suit. A friend, who had already assisted with renovations on the adjacent barn, was recruited for the task.

The primary function for this greenhouse is growing from seed and potting on. It was, therefore, more important to maximise the staging arrangements. No need to save space for growing taller plants, such as tomatoes, or wish to grow anything straight into the ground. Instead a staging configuration which goes all the way round the greenhouse makes the most sense. Plus a shelf across the back, providing the maximum amount of workspace.

The greenhouse is finished in Oatmeal, which happily matches well with their existing exterior joinery, and they opted for the guttering upgrade. Now surrounded by the lupins, hollyhocks, cosmos and nicatiana germinated within, it’s a satisfying vista and pretty as a picture.

You can use the filters in our Signature Gallery to view more examples of the Croft and/or more greenhouses in Oatmeal.