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Covanburn Projects

Crathes Castle Rose Garden

Client National Trust Scotland
Value £250,000

Description of works

The Rose Garden is one of eight landscaped compartments forming the historic Walled Garden at Crathes Castle,Banchory, Aberdeenshire. The Rose Garden is also included within the boundaries of GDL00119 under Historic Environment Scotland’s Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

The historic Yew hedges enclosing the garden compartment were to be retained whilst all other planting within the central garden were to be removed and laid to lawn.

The central feature of the new design comprised of eight flower borders, laid out concentrically in plan to replicate a stylised Jacobite Rose. This design reflects the historical use of the area and provides adequate footfall around the beds. It also created an aesthetically-pleasing aerial aspect to the site when viewed from the castle, and it fits in well with the surrounding garden compartments which are also arranged to be viewed in a similar manner.

A series of radial and concentric paths were laid to intersect the circular feature and provide circulation routes between the various flower beds, working with the natural contours of the sloping site.

Four new decorative metal arbours were constructed within the central area of the new circular garden, symbolising the petals of a flower. A new stone sculpture with gently-trickling water was installed and positioned over a shallow water-
filled reflection pond.

Underground service ducts with draw-strings were installed to allow for future lighting installation. The garden has levels falling in 2 places and was reprofiled to give the best levels for pedestrians. The foot print of the project was within an existing walled garden. The existing A listed wall had to taken down and rebuilt to exactly the same profile.

Principle Elements

Preparatory Works

  • Uplift of existing topsoil from planting
  • Excavate for planting beds
  • Drainage works were carried out
  • Existing services were located and


  • Imported soil was utilised to increase
    path levels
  • Installation of paving and cubes
  • Stainless Steel Edging inclucing kerb
    log and fixing
  • Blaes
  • Type 1 was laid on outside path
  • Spoilheaps were excavated and
  • topsoil was spread and grass seed

Pond and Central Feature

  • Construction of 3m radius central
    water feature of natural stone
  • The feature Pump Chamber
  • Pump set


The garden was originally designed to have Scottish granite paving and kerbs. The cost for this was to be prohibitive due to the shortage of Scottish granite. Covanburn Contracts investigated suitable alternatives and Caithness Stone from Sutherland was incorporated into the works and used as paving and kerbing. The kerbs were cut to allow placement on tight curves. Due to the ease of working with Caithness Stone, all special kerbs were cut insitu. The main area of slabbing was undertaken using precut tapered slabs with sizes confirmed using Autocad drawings.


The garden has been redeveloped to provide an enhanced offering to visitors, reflecting its setting on the Crathes Castle estate. It will provide permeance and interest for present and future generations, and showcase the National Trust for Scotland as investors in heritage management and progressive design.


10 weeks

Enhanced offering for visitors
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