The house and gardens at Farrs in Beaminster is once again opening as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Home to internationally renowned furniture designer and maker John Makepeace and his artist wife Jennie, the stunning gardens include yew topiary, sculpture, a colourful potager with a new oak fruit cage, rolling lawns and spectacular grasses.

The couple have carried out extensive renovations to the gardens since buying Farrs in 2001 and open the grounds and house to the public annually.

It had previously been the home of Fiennes and Bridget Trotman and their forebears for 250 years.

John Makepeace said: “While earlier generations had carried out extensive alterations, the house and garden had become burdensome to the family as it needed a thorough restoration. “This work was planned over our first year, in consultation with English Heritage. Once the builders were on site, it was time to start on the garden.”

The development of the gardens, which run back to the River Brit, has been tackled in several stages, starting with the landscaping of the lawns.

Several hundred tons of subsoil and tons of rubble from cottages demolished in the 18th century were removed.

The area next to the river was made into a garden for Mrs Makepeace to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers.

The wild area between this garden and the river is teeming with wildlife and a range of trees and grasses.

The house features a wonderful selection of John’s own work alongside contemporary paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Both are open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme from 11am – 5pm tomorrow (20 July), 17 August and 14 September.

The inspirational grass garden was recently featured on BBC2’s Gardeners’ World following a visit from Joe Swift. Picking up on the incredible design of the garden he said: “What I really like is the graphic way you’ve used these plants, by band, and drifts of them and blocks of them – there’s a real designer’s eye coming through here.”

A selection of specialist nurseries will be selling some more unusual plants each day and there will also be a series of midday talks, including the chance to hear from the UK’s leading ornamental grass expert, Dorset’s own Neil Lucas, on 17 August and 14 September.

This is the fourth year the garden will be open to the public having raised thousands of pounds for the NGS and The Brooke, a charity promoting the health of working animals in the world’s poorest communities.

“We look forward to welcoming and sharing with them our passion for horticulture and design,” said John.

“We opened the gardens for the National Gardens Scheme over three days for the first time in 2010, and encouraged by the response we have continued to do so.

“Several eminent garden photographers and journalists came the following year and this resulted in some 950 visitors on one day.

“We now open the house too as this provides a fuller experience. Visitors enjoy the combination of a contemporary home and garden.”

  • Admission is £5. Coffee, teas and cake will be served in the garden. You’ll find Farrs on Whitcombe Road, Beaminster. For more information call 01308 862204 or email