Urban Garden

Contemporary New Build

Design and build constraints:
  • Small urban garden so limited space for landscaping materials
  • Low maintenance planting
  • Dog friendly planting
  • Mixture of leasehold and freehold land
  • Overhanging trees
When we first visited this garden, we were struck by how much the trees were having a negative impact on this space. Already a small garden, the low canopy heightened this feeling further. The first thing we did was to enlist a tree surgeon to work on the trees. The garden was an unusual mixture of freehold and leasehold land so one of the trees was on the freehold section and the remaining two on the leasehold land. Permission was sought from the land owner to have the two trees on the leasehold land pruned and the one on the freehold land removed completely.

The site had been previously used as a railway sports and social club and was likely to be part of an old railway yard. Whilst no evidence exists of railway infrastructure on the site, it is possible that the site was used for the storage of material associated with the railway. As part of the original planning application for the development a number of studies were made to ascertain and conclude that the soil on the site was at risk from contaminants including polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), fuel hydrocarbons and asbestos. A membrane was installed and clean topsoil imported.

The landscaping included a large patio using London Stone’s Astor Grey Porcelain to give a contemporary look with clean lines and to reflect light back into the garden. This was laid in a half bond pattern to accentuate the depth of the garden and make the space appear bigger on the side return. This was paired with Silverland Stone’s Polar Ice gravel. Large bespoke planters were added to enhance the sense of scale. These were in a zingy orange colour, chosen to add some warmth to the space. A metal pergola from London Stone was also installed to define the dining area.

Although pruning the trees had allowed more light into the garden, being north facing, hours of sunlight were always going to be limited. Plants were predominantly chosen for their texture and the contrast of texture to their neighbouring plants. This introduced a richness, depth and interest to the scheme. Plants with foliage tints complementary to the orange were used in the form of Heuchera 'Marmelade, Anemanthele lessoniana and Hydrangea serrata ‘Blue Bird’. Scleranthus biflorus was used for its resemblance to moss to form a carpet over time.

Scleranthus biflorus was used for its resemblance to moss to form a carpet over time.