Please click on image for description and a selection of other photographs for each garden
St John’s Wood, London
The rear extension forming the main living space in this RDA Architects designed house is built as a cantilevered structure, sitting nearly a meter above the lawn level; this was a planning requirement to protect the roots of the magnificent Hornbeam that dominates the garden. Our garden design required a solution that allowed simple access into the garden, mirroring the multiple openings, whilst also carefully avoiding any significant disruption to the Hornbeam. Transitioning from the internal floor level to the lawn required a series of steps, and, rather than attempt to divert away from this need, we playfully exaggerated it by using three types of species to create the illusion of hedge based steps.
Working alongside Reading + West Architects, and Bridget Reading id, the garden incorporates contemporary elements that sit comfortably with the traditional elements of the building. The key to the design was creating a series of compartmentalized spaces, without compromising the feeling of openness and the views beyond. Perennial planting, combined with low evergreen hedging, defines separated spaces; these spaces include a pool terrace, a firepit set within a sunken seating space, a breakfast terrace and a tennis court.
We designed a series of stepped planters that use vibrant planting to soften the transition between the lower ground floor terrace and lawn level in this large London garden. The planting is relatively minimalist with each planter containing only a single species of plant, selected for their form and flowering colour at different times over summer. The Allium bulbs signify the start of the growing season and are left standing long after flowering to create sculptural interest.
The house was designed by RDA Architects and features large double storey windows which made the views into the garden very important. Our approach was to create a more contemporary garden space in the lower terrace, in the space closest to the modern architecture, and then to develop a more natural look at the lawn level. This allows for softer planting and family friendly elements such as the tree seat, deck terrace and children’s play area.
Elements such as the beautiful concrete planters supplied by Urbis Design were placed at both levels of the garden to link the two spaces.
The project coincided with the build of a modern annex to a Grade II listed house to the side of Bosham harbour, blending the old with the new. The pool position was the starting point, where 3D models plotted shadow movement to determine where best to place the pool to optimize the amount of sun that it received, and an evergreen hedge planted to create a semi-private room for the pool. The stone surfaces were carefully selected to complement the build materials for the different parts of the house.
The garden space is entered and viewed from two levels, above and below the natural garden level. The water wall at the back creates a strong focal point that takes the eye away from the houses behind the garden. The water wall is clad in horizontal strips of black limestone, with the water flow set so that the water gently adheres to the face of the wall, catching light and shadows, and dramatically lit at night. Three Katsura trees are planted within squares cut out of the deck. A grid of a further three trees are set on the boundary to provide further screening.
This Townhouse was one of five recently renovated in Leinster Square by Alchemi Group, a property development management company placing a high emphasis on architectural interior design. The outdoor spaces were a key part to delivering the boutique, modern day living style proposition of the homes. We introduced Cor-ten steel elements to create a unified structural approach for each individual area. On the roof terrace this took the form of a cor-ten picture frame for a green wall on one side, and bespoke fabricated planters for the jasmine screening on the other side. Cor-ten curves span and connect the two visible sides of the light well, with beautiful planters and furniture completing the spaces and reinforcing the character of the interiors.
Like many renovated London homes a key element for the design involved incorporating a large excavated basement area and determining how to transition from this space up onto the natural garden level. The extension, designed by RDA Architects, mirrored the width of the garden, and, to avoid the lower terrace space feeling hemmed in or too remote from the rest of the garden, a tiered step unit was created for the transition. The unit comprised layers of single and double height steps, together with a built-in BBQ and herb bed, and glass balustrades beside the steps. A series of clipped hedges of varying heights defines spaces in the garden that include a late sun terrace, a large vegetable growing area, and a separated children’s play surface.
The extension added to this house made the entire garden space visible, and, with Clients who had furnished their home with a stunning collection of mid century furniture, our design used a modernist footprint to echo the strong rectilinear lines of the furniture. Lines of tightly clipped evergreen hedging prevent the eye from taking in the whole garden in one view, whilst also creating pockets of interest. A row of pleached trees were carefully placed to screen the roof of a large home office at the back of the garden, and also framed a deck terrace for dining in the garden.
Small spaces present special challenges and can be harder to design than a larger space. With a tiny space like this garden in Chelsea, we decided that it was best to leave as much of the area as possible uncluttered, making it appear larger and allowing for as much flexibility as possible for both adults and children. The planting carefully balances the minimalism of the garden, emphasizing the clean lines, yet still practical, with bamboo providing screening, and the line of ‘mind your own business’ carefully placed to absorb surface rainwater.