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  • Writer's pictureNick

Contemporary City Garden

"We are so thrilled with the garden that Nick and Douglas have created for us. It’s been totally transformed, from a rather unkempt and unloved space in which we rarely spent time, to an inviting and inspiring additional ‘living room’.

We were probably gloriously vague with our brief - the chief requirements being storage large enough to house several bikes plus a booze collection, and some insect friendly plants... We left it to Nick and Douglas to weave their magic, which they duly did, conjuring up a design both practical and inventive, cleverly addressing the external constraints and considering the flow and look of the house.

The result is a garden which is a delight to be out in but which we know is also going to be a joy to look out on throughout the year. Nick and Douglas have managed to create different themed areas and moods within a relatively small space. The plants are just fabulous, a real riot of colour and interest, and already proving popular with bees and butterflies, which is such a delight. And the inspired lighting design means we can enjoy our garden long into the night.

Passionate, enthusiastic, caring, can-do and conscientious, Nick and Douglas have been a pleasure to deal with, from start to finish. Not only are we delighted with the result, their expert project management means it’s also been a thoroughly happy process. Indeed, we are missing them already..." - Sarah and Kevin W3


City garden from above

As soon as we saw what amazing transformational things this fabulous couple had done to their typical London terrace inside, we knew we had to create something equally impressive outside!

The original garden felt dark and uninviting and needed to feel like a real extension of the home itself. The brief was to create a low maintenance, visually exciting space for entertaining and relaxing in, that also had to incorporate a large storage unit.

Large storage unit with door for back garden

The large contemporary shed was positioned in the top left corner of the garden behind a large Olive tree. Painted dark grey, it not only adds to the contemporary look of the shed, but also makes it almost disappear into the background.

Being north facing, we needed to take full advantage of the light in this garden and to ensure that we maximized the feeling of space. We did this by using light porcelain paving that will really come into its own during the darker winter months.

We positioned the dining area at the centre of the garden and installed a floating bench into the raised bed to give flexibility to the seating arrangements. The contemporary purple table adds a subtle sense of drama.

City garden with dining area and contemporary features

The floating bench, made of cedar to reference the cedar cladding on the boundary walls, gives flexibility and variety to the dining area.

A further challenge with this garden was the large brick façade of a neighbouring house that abuts the rear of the garden. We needed to soften the vast expanse of brick and we did this with addition of 3 large silver birch trees that we planted in fantastic oversized terracotta planters.

Contemporary city garden terrace lit up at night

The 3 silver birch trees give a real sense of grandeur and drama to the garden as well as disguising the large brick wall behind. Hydrangea ‘Litte Lime’ are planted between the oversized planters to add extra interest and structure.

As well as using large porcelain paving, we also added two areas of eco decking to the design. The first leads out from the kitchen, whilst the second forms a natural division from the dining terrace to the lower terrace that leads to the storage unit. We also incorporated a corten steel decorative screen to this area that is backlit and forms a wonderful focal point to the garden.

City garden at night with lit up screen

The corten steel screen looks great in the day with its rusty patina, but really comes into its own at night when the LED lighting casts shadows all around the garden.

The main terrace has a Mediterranean theme in its planting where we created a boldly painted feature wall that has three large planters containing tall, thin Cypress trees.

Feature wall of back garden with Cypress trees

The feature wall highlights the architectural form of the planters and tall Cypress trees.

The large bed at the center of the garden has a more lush feel, with perennials, ferns and grasses.

Main flower bed with ferns

With a colour palette of purple, blue, yellow and green in summer, the main bed creates a calm vibe in this part of the garden.

In this garden, we have also gone for bold ‘block’ planting and have planted the yellow evergreen Carex Aurea ‘Bowles Golden’ along the right hand boundary.

'Bowles Golden' Carex Aurea shrubs

The Carex Aurea 'Bowles Golden' becomes even more vibrant at night when lit from above.

For the raised bed that forms the backdrop to the floating bench, a number of small evergreen hexes, pines and thymes were used, under planted with perennials including salvias and Echinacea.

Garden viewed from the front raised bed

With mainly low planting, the raised bed has thyme at the front giving a wonderful Mediterranean aroma, as well as evergreen and perennial interest.

From this……

The garden before

The garden before

to this……

Contemporary city garden

The garden after

Photos © Paul Debois


If you would like us to design the garden of your dreams, why not get in touch?


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