Friday 29 June 2018

Designing distinct garden zones in north London

This long but narrow town garden in north London had become very overgrown during a long period of building work. New seating areas were required, and a pathway leading from the house to the studio room at the bottom of the garden. The owners wanted to retain two mature fruit trees to the left hand side but apart from that gave the Urban Hedgerow a blank slate to work with.

We quickly discovered we had a love of Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) in common and decided to make these the centrepiece of the ‘gravel garden’, an area about one third of the way down, so that the Acers could be clearly seen from the house.

London Stone’s clean white porcelain tiles in Sandy White were chosen for the patio extending from the bifold doors and the same slabs were used for the path down to the studio.

For the rest of the planting, we took inspiration from the clients’ own taste for clean, minimalist lines and love of foliage colour and texture rather than relying on flowers for colour. We used Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Queen’, Euphorbia characias subsp wulfenii and Nandina domestica, as well as Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ for its shape and fragrance. Two Euonymus alatus give an extra burst of bright red foliage in autumn to complement the Acers as they turn golden and bronze.
To the right hand side, where the border is shaded, we used geometric plants: upright Prunus lusitanica ‘Angustifolia’ and Taxus baccata cubes to echo the shape and dimensions of the lawn. The structured planting here creates a feeling of space despite the narrow lawn.

More details on this and other Urban Hedgerow projects at