A Classic/Contemporary Corner Garden with Swimming Pool, Terraces and Bespoke Outdoor Kitchen
"We presented Nick and Doug with quite a challenge — turning a boring, unused garden into a modern family escape that would still be in-keeping with our historic London home.
They certainly delivered: the garden incorporates traditional English garden elements well suited to the brick facade, yet has the outdoor kitchen, pond-like pool and colourful plants on our wish list. We love the thoughtful layout and the attention to detail (echoing the flooring inside our home, for instance, and the evening lighting).
However, the standout has to be the layers and layers of gorgeous planting that have us looking forward to each new season. They were undeterred by some challenges particular to the site and were creative problem solvers throughout — a delight to work with. [They’ve done a really lovely transformation of the front garden as well.] Thanks to the Distinctive Gardener, we now spend countless happy hours in our beautiful, multi-functional garden." - Wendy & Alex London W4
The luxury of having a beautiful outdoor swimming pool in London is something to embrace, and that is exactly what the clients of this garden are now enjoying on a daily basis!
When Doug and I were first approached to design this corner garden, a swimming pool was top of the wish list, as was an outdoor kitchen – and of course a beautiful garden full of plants, flowers and evergreen structure.
The interior of this stunning Norman Shaw house has a classic/contemporary feel, which we naturally wanted to continue into the garden. The small Dutch pavers on the lower terrace nearest the house are an appropriate nod to the period façade, as are the formal accents in the planting scheme, with the use of evergreen topiary and the formal pleached trees around the garden’s boundaries.
A more contemporary feel was achieved with the clean straight lines of the pool terrace, where the large limestone pavers and contemporary corner sofa and fire bowl create a more 21st century feel.
There are two borders that run the length and width of the pool itself. We not only wanted to ‘soften’ this area around the pool, but also make the clients feel as if they were surrounded by foliage whilst they were swimming. The planting includes an evergreen Yew pyramid topiary, as well as a tapestry of foliage plants and seasonal colour.
Although the unusual shape of this garden presented us with some challenges, the positioning of the outdoor kitchen was crucial. It had to be near the main seating and dining areas, but we did not want it to dominate the space.
The solution was to site the bespoke kitchen unit opposite the home’s guest suite. The bespoke wooden hardwood units were designed to work well with the small pergola that overhangs, which also provides another attractive period feature to the garden.
This part of the garden is in shade for most of the day, and so we incorporated a corten steel raised bed to run the length of the boundary for architectural interest, which is planted with fabulous shade-tolerant plants and jungle-like Tree Ferns.
We favoured using darker tiles on the interior of the swimming pool. Firstly, and especially where space is limited, the darker tone of the tiles helps to make the pool seem almost like a pond – and thus appear less dominating within the garden.
Secondly, it means that the plants and trees that surround the pool, as well as the attractive façade of the property, are reflected beautifully in the water.
In the images below, you can see how at night the subtle lighting within the pool adds a magical feel to this part of the garden.
The integrated lighting system can be operated remotely with a hand unit or via an app on the client’s phone. The lighting is zoned on a number of circuits, which allows for different areas of the garden to be lit individually. This also means that specific trees and borders can be highlighted, which can create any number of stunning backdrops when viewed internally from the home.