Modern City Garden in North London
The brief from this client was to create a low maintenance, accessible and above all stylish garden, suitable for dining and entertaining. The client was looking for a real ‘wow’ factor and wanted the exterior of their property to mirror the high finish and individuality of their interior space. The existing space suffered from many drawbacks – it had an uninspiring, drab layout and was excessively overlooked from flats above and to the right and left. Its North facing aspect means that it does not benefit from a great deal of sunlight.
This design created create a stylish and contemporary space with a plethora of visual stimuli that offers extensive opportunity for enjoyment throughout the year.
The existing fencing along the rear and right hand boundaries was clad with opaque purple Perspex sheeting to create a uniform, modern backdrop to the space. Two distinct seating areas, each designed with a different use in mind, were created to allow the client maximum scope for entertaining and relaxation.
The first, in the top right corner of the space, forms the main focal point to the garden and comprises a slightly sunken conversation pit enclosed within a four-poster bed style structure. Constructed from sturdy railway sleepers, this area offers ample space for lounging and serves as a visually imposing talking-point. One side of the structure includes numerous open shelves, allowing the client to display a variety of sculpture and ephemera, while a second side houses a bespoke stainless steel water feature. The water feature itself is comprised of a large stainless steel tank fed from above by two stainless steel water blades. For comfort, large custom-made weatherproof cushions cover the conversation pit floor. These cushions can be removed and stored during inclement weather.
The second seating area, centre left of the space, comprises an L-shaped railway-sleeper fixed bench backed by a railway-sleeper raised bed. Serving as an informal alfresco dining area, this section of the space benefits from a low coffee-style table with a second table at kitchen-counter height, beside which the client has placed a BBQ for alfresco food preparation.
Flooring throughout is in attractive cream travertine, laid in a formal grid pattern and inlaid in the centre with a single rectangular strip of plum slate tiles, providing an elegant contrast to the dark stained railway sleeper structure and seating.
The left hand boundary was clad with stainless steel sheeting to create a stunning backdrop to the dining area. This panelling continues along the boundary beyond the seating area to mask a bespoke storage area in an alcove to the left of the space. The stainless steel theme is echoed with the addition of six stainless steel planters placed at intervals around the edge of the paving.
Planting in the space follows a strong architectural theme, consisting of sculpted box balls and tall, elegant allium in the raised bed, framed by the primeval fronds of dicksonia antartica (tree fern) clustered in the flush bed beyond. The box ball theme is echoed in the stainless steel planters spaced around the paving and a variety of climbers have been placed so that they will gradually adorn the Perspex fencing over time.
A comprehensive lighting scheme was installed with mood and accent in mind. Down-lighters installed within the alcoves of the railway sleeper shelving unit create a centre piece of the sleeper structure, while stainless steel bollard lights frame either end of the bench in the dining area. The paving is edged with in-ground up-lighters placed in front of each stainless steel planter to give balance to the space, while a submersible light installed within the water feature tank casts a gently undulating light across the back of the space. Low voltage spots cast a gentle glow across the back of the space and weatherproof wall-mounted infra-red heaters, one in the conversation pit and one on the boundary wall beside the bench seating, allow continued enjoyment of the garden on chilly nights.
“Many thanks, we are so thrilled with the entire garden. It is imaginative and bold but also practical and truly reflects our personalities! You have transformed an ordinary space into something quite magical.”