East Dulwich, London

 

Unlike most London gardens, this garden takes on the shape of a square. With trees to the rear and side, it is fairly sheltered with a good sense of enclosure. 

 

Taking advantage of these factors, we designed it to feel like a courtyard. For a welcoming entrance from the kitchen into the garden, a raised decked area at the same level as the kitchen floor was constructed. Stepping down from that into the centre of it, we arrive at the dining area which feels nestled into the garden. 

 

To the back, and one level up is a lounge area. Both sides are hugged by raised planters with tall grasses, spring bulbs and wildflowers. Silver birch line a corner to the back for a greater sense of enclosure and a strong sculptural presence throughout the year. 

Forest Hill, London

 

A woodland back garden set on an incline in Forest Hill needed a lounge area and dining area nestled amongst the vegetation. Two large pine trees tower at the back of the garden giving it the feel of an ancient woodland. The murmur from a nearby stream, rustling of leaves and sound of birds gave it the ambience of a woodland oasis tucked away in the back of the garden. 

 

The garden was divided into three sections. The first platform that one arrives at is the brightest and that was used as a dining area. Planters with tall grasses were placed in this area for a sense of enclosure and movement. 

 

The steps take you up to the next platform which is the lounge area with recliners. The fronds of tree ferns spread out and gives one a sense of being in a forest. 

West Norwood, London

 

Set in West Norwood, this is an elongated back garden to a Victorian family home. To  make it a more inviting space, the garden was divided along its length and a pergola designed to run across the midpoint. Underneath the pergola, Pittosporums were trimmed into boxes and laid out among wildflowers. This also served to give the children's play area a space of its own. 

 

The clients are keen gardeners and were eager to keep many of the existing plants so a planting plan was devised to complement them. Evergreens were incorporated to enhance the garden's structure. Flowering perennials and annuals change the feel of the garden through the seasons.

The side return was an important section as it provides a focal point from the dining room. Green walls were designed for this, as well as bamboo planted in troughs. The view from the dining room towards the garden was framed by the position of the lateral beds and the pergola. 

Sydenham Hill, London

 

In a rare setting for London, this garden backs onto the last remnants of ancient woodland in South East London. The garden ends in a sheer drop into the woodland which stands as a surprising, but delightful reminder of what existed before we inhabited the land. 

 

Defined by flowing, curvilinear shapes, the garden invites a visitor to venture down a meandering path towards the woods that lie beyond. The boundaries were kept indistinct to allow the woodland to become a part of the garden. The curved shapes wrap around each other forming a striking pattern when viewed from the top floor of the house. 

 

The planting is a tapestry of evergreens and perennials with annuals and bulbs dotted between these. A tall bamboo grove at the bottom of the garden creates a transition into the woodland. A gunnera introduces an element of wilderness and surprise. Two columnar prunus trees and an acer help to settle the garden into its woodland surroundings. Plenty of insect-friendly plants draw bees and other wildlife into the garden. 

The Bee Cause Garden at Blenheim Palace Flower Show 2014

 

The Bee Cause Garden was built in conjunction with Friends of the Earth to draw attention to the decline in the bee population. Within the garden, we created two worlds. In the dramatised post-apocalyptic world, a starkly-contrasting palette of black and white; a hundred kilos of steel rods rose from the ground representing tall and flowing grasses. Separated by a valley and two reflection pools, the other world was a lush bee-friendly paradise of wildflowers, other perennials and trees. The bold statement provided a fruitful discussion point for visitors. 

Sydenham, London

 

This is a long front garden in a leafy neighbourhood in Sydenham. The clients wanted the garden to be a delightful journey from the street to the front door. A certain amount of privacy was also desirable. The setting for the garden is a contemporary house with strong geometric lines and mature oak trees in its immediate surroundings. 

 

The garden was planted up with multi-stem silver birches with a underplanting of grasses. Purple Pittosporums were shaped into boxes and punctuated the middle level. The boxes reflected the strong geometry in the house's facade. 

Victoria Rd, Oxford

 

The client wanted this front garden to be a delightful gate-to-door experience. It also had to be a low-maintenance bee-friendly garden. The area was small and the challenge was to create a composition without making it feel smaller. We devised a planting scheme with a large proportion of evergreens for ease of maintenance and year round foliage. Sandstone paving was put down for the walkway and standing platforms. The presence of large laurel shrubs with dense crowns created areas of shade while other areas received more light. This called for a range of plants that could thrive under diverse light conditions. 

Frobisher Rd, London

 

This is a long and narrow urban back garden which the client wanted to use for entertaining when friends come over for dinner. They also needed it to have some play space for children but this had to be done so it could be easily-repurposed if needs changed. The clients were after a low-maintenance garden. The line of sight and movement was broken up along its length to give rise to smaller spaces for lingering. 

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