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  • Writer's pictureNick

Small Family Garden with Oak Pergola, Terrace and Generous Dining and Seating Area

"If there could only be one word to describe our garden, it would have to be WOW! It used to be a space where we hardly spent any time as it felt somewhat unwelcoming. We tried a few tricks to make it look better, but to no avail. Although we felt lucky to have a garden, it also felt as if it wasn’t a part of our house.

Once we found The Distinctive Gardener website we knew instantly that Nick and Doug would be the right guys for the job. We didn’t really know what we wanted in the garden, except that we wanted it to look amazing! We have two little girls, we love entertaining our friends, but what we are not is gardeners and therefore we needed something that is easy to maintain. Nick and Doug reassured us that they were going to deliver just that.

A few weeks later Nick and Doug presented to us our first design. They took onboard all our concerns and came up with ideas that we could never have done on our own. Fast forward a few months and suddenly we have the most wonderful garden, cleverly split into play, dining and relaxing areas.

It’s fair to say that within the first month we spent more time in our garden than in the previous 5 years. It looks beautiful during the day, while lighting and heaters make it inviting after dark, even on cooler days. Nick and Doug have created for us a space that we absolutely love, and has completed our family home." - Marianna & Paul NW6


This small, but now perfectly formed, garden in Queens Park, London NW6, shows how it is possible to design a garden that is both practical and also caters for all the needs of a young family.

The clients wanted space for their children to play, whilst also having a generous rear terrace in which to entertain their family and friends. So, with that in mind, we created a design that has a small terrace with storage off of the kitchen diner, leading on to a lawn with floral borders, and finally onto a terrace area with pergola to the rear.

We divided the lawn (with its densely planted borders) from the dining terrace by creating a hedged bed running half the width of the garden. This is planted with a multi-stemmed tree and an array of seasonal planting that starts with spring bulbs, moving to early summer Alliums and summer perennials, finishing with vibrant autumn colour from the Amelanchier tree.

The main terrace has a modular dining set to make maximum use of the space, as well as one of two overhead heaters, just pictured on the left, that ensures the space can be used even on chilly evenings.

For a family who loves to entertain with outdoor cooking, this terrace is also home to no less than two BBQ’s (above)! There's also a large pot containing a beautiful evergreen tree that helps to divide this terrace from the cosy rear seating area under the bespoke oak pergola.

The pergola terrace, with its contemporary corner sofa unit, has a raised bed just behind it that is home to a multi-stemmed Silver Birch, tree fern and low woodland planting. This bed creates a wonderful feeling of calm, and the shade from the trees and the patterns from the overhead pergola roof screens, cast delicate shadows over the whole area.

The Corten steel log store (above right) was made to fit exactly into the space, and the outdoor wood burner is perfect for colder days and cosy winter nights, when all the family can be together under the stars. The pergola also has a second halogen heater for when more instant heat is required.

We used tongue and groove fencing for the boundaries and contemporary wooden battens for the pergola area. The terraces have light porcelain paving, while the seating area to the rear uses smaller pavers laid at an angle. This not only makes the space appear larger, but also adds a rustic element to the overall design.

Here's Doug and I in the finished garden in early summer, not only admiring the large purple Alliums, but also the 5 trees that we managed to include in what is a small, but typical 5 metre by 12 metre London garden space.


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If you have a garden you'd like us to transform, why not get in touch?


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