Existing– A very neglected overgrown site near Clapton Pond in Hackney, east London. The house is an unusual detached property with an irregularly shaped back garden, dominated by a large Eucalyptus tree, and sloping up towards the back fence. The rear façade was obscured by a mass of Wisteria and Jasmine and the garden was a mess of old paving, weeds and tired shrubs. An old shed base and exposed pipework in the far corner completed the picture of a garden long overdue for a revamp.
Brief – The client wanted to keep the large Eucalyptus tree, and wanted a lawn, a shed, a compost bin, lots of interesting plants, including a herb bed near the house, and needed space for a table and chairs. They also wanted to be screened as much as possible from a new house being built next door.
Solution – The new design is laid out in units of 1.2M, based on the dimensions of the house windows. It is set at 45 degrees to the house making the space seem larger and drawing the eye away from end boundary. The strong structure of interlocking rectangles is softened by naturalistic planting.
A russet red Indian sandstone was used for the main paving near the house, the paths to the lawn and the small seating area below the Eucalyptus. The slope was utilized to form a series of raised beds, low walls and steps, all built from railway sleepers.
A small, rectangular lawn fills the centre of the garden, while the shed, stained a terracotta red, and compost bin were hidden away in the far left corner behind a screen of Black Bamboo and evergreen Fatsia.
Drought tolerant plants, includes a Chamaerops humilis (Dwarf Fan Palm), tall Miscanthus grass and Cotton Lavender were planted in the sunny beds nearer the house, while more shade tolerant plants thrive in the darker parts of the garden, including Euphorbias, Bugle and Foam Flower. Additional colour is provided by purple Alliums, russet Heleniums, white Anemones and pale blue Irises. Spring bulbs and climbers complete the picture.
The rendered boundary wall was painted a lovely terracotta red which provides a perfect foil for the planting.
This garden demonstrates how an innovative design can work successfully to transform an overlooked plot in an awkward space into a beautiful green, flowering and practical garden.
Designed by Jeremy Bevan
Built in 2008-09
Budget approx £15000