Especially when visitors plonk themselves just outside your kitchen windows obstructing your view of something much nicer. In order to discourage this sort of instinctive behaviour we decided that the best thing would be to treat the whole area in front of the house as a big gravel garden.

Nobody is going to park on a plant. Are they?

The choice of plants is deliberately very small and all of them are designed to be pretty self sufficient. They seed themselves quite readily so the scheme is constantly moving around and needs a bit of editing in the spring. There is a big and brash yellow Verbascum called bombyciferum which has leaves as velvey as giant rabbits, Lots of Verbena bonariensis a plant that is always reliable and easy – it supports itself, goes with everything, is airy in its habit so blocks no light and dies elegantly. Finally there are two grasses, Stipa tenuissima and Panicum Heavy Metal and some ornamental pears.

Round the back it gets a bit more intense with great swathes of colour and zing shooting alongside a very steep bank. There are two ways up the bank: the short way via some brick steps or the long way with takes you along a snaking grass path through a very large border.

Sometimes the long way is the best way.