Enclosed by high ornamental gates and shaded for most of the day, the courtyard is planted with ferns, hostas and ornamental evergreen shrubs that provide interest throughout the year. This includes four pyramid box. Hanging baskets adorn the vertical surfaces of the courtyard during the summer months.
The Mediterranean style planting includes yuccas, sedums, artemisias and phormiums. Terracotta urns and planters filled with exotics, agapanthus and summer annuals create a welcoming and relaxed ambience. Box hedging provides structure and hanging baskets offer interest above eye level.
Designed in 2003 and replanted in 2017, the Shade Garden has a formal appearance. Box hedging and topaired forms provide neat structures that offer a contrast to a planting of variegated grasses and bergenias. Two huge ferns are grown in central positions on each side of the space. From a seat positioned at one end of the garden it is possible to look out on the abundance of the Gravel Walk.
Part of this area is shaded by the old pear tree, through which grows the rambling rose 'Wedding day' Yellow is the dominant colour on the Gravel Walk. The effect is uplifting when seen after the mainly green, formal Shade Garden. White is used particularly on the shadier east facing side of the garden.
The garden is formal in appearance and divided into five beds edged with golden oregano. Vegetables, fruit and flowers are all grown organically. The fully restored 36ft long greenhouse is used to grow heritage tomatoes, cucumber, melons and ‘Black Hamburg’ grapes.
With its mixed borders of shrubs, herbaceous perennials, bulbs and grasses, this ‘room’ is the biggest at Southlands. Containing a bigger more natural pond than that in the Mediterranean garden, it can accommodate pink and white water lilies. All the York stone paving, cobbles and slate used in its construction are reclaimed. This garden is the warmest in summer and the coldest in winter.
Being shaded by a large cherry tree, this garden is cool and tranquil. Shade loving ferns and hostas thrive in the moist conditions provided for them. Snowdrops carpet the borders in winter followed by hellebores, primroses, bluebells, erythroniums and pulmonarias. Evergreen shrubs add structure to a predominantly green garden.