Differential grass mowing
To accentuate the geometry of the lawns at Denmans and reduce maintenance further, John left portions of the lawns to grow relatively long while designating the rest to be mown short.
The short grass became paths and the rough grass was planted with spring bulbs, including crocus, daffodils, and fritillaria melagris.
Dry river bed
Flowing from top to bottom of the main garden area and iconic of Denmans, are the two dry river beds that Joyce and Bertie carefully laid out in the early 1970’s.
Mrs. J.H. was adamant that all the stone, shingle, flint, and pebbles from which it was constructed be from Sussex, conceding only to have a long piece of Hampshire stone laid across one of the two beds to act as a small bridge when no stone long or wide enough could be found locally. She planted Sussex natives through the shingle to which John added his own trademark architectural plants and shrub.
The dry river beds terminate at a beach bordering a pond designed by John Brookes MBE and originally built in collaboration with Anthony Archer-Wills. The pond, which has recently been restored, has a gentle, informal feel to it, though its geometry and proportions are consistent with the flowing lines of the rest of the garden.
As second, smaller circular pond was dug at the top of the garden in front of Joyce’s Cottage. John often used a circular pond in his designs to connect the geometry of the garden he was creating to the landscape beyond. In 2018 he cleared all the beds around the Circle Pond, leaving it to punctuate the lawn with a clear geometric shape reflecting the semi-circular sun porch of the Cottage.