Orpheus at Boughton

European Garden Award 2011

A new landscape feature has been created within the seventeenth and eighteenth century gardens at Boughton House near Kettering (Northamptonshire). Boughton Park is a garden of land and water; avenues and vistas; rhythm and reflection, where landscapes and waterscapes have been carefully contained with linear features and striking angular characteristics.

At the start of the commission, the present Duke of Buccleuch took landscape architect Kim Wilkie to the top of the restored mount to look back along the half-mile vista below. What should be done, he asked. “It would be interesting to go down rather than up,” was the answer.

Orpheus takes the form of an inverted grass pyramid, which descends seven meters below the surrounding grass terrace and compliments the neighbouring mount. Restoration and work on landform was managed by Lance Goffort-Hall. Walking around the landscape the new design is invisible, but suddenly a gently sloping grass path spirals down from the terrace to a square pool at the base reflecting the sky and clouds.

In the Duke’s words, “Designed landscapes are rarely static. Boughton’s renewal in recent years has provided the opportunity for innovation alongside renovation. Kim’s genius has been to create something that is both bold and highly sympathetic.”