Garden Tour: A Beautiful, Layered Design with Year-round Appeal
This modest city garden is a masterclass in making a plot look bigger and creating a haven that invites you in
Read on to see before and after photos and discover how the designers totally transformed the space.
Who lives here? A couple with a dog and a cat
Location North London
Property A Victorian terraced house
Garden dimensions 44 sq m
Designer Paul Duffy and Peter Robinson of GRDN
Photos by Alister Thorpe
The brief for the garden was twofold: as well as designing a stunning focal point that could be enjoyed from the house, the couple asked Paul and Peter to create a journey from the home to the office at the end of the space.
“We always try to work with established plants,” he says. “They can really give a garden that maturity from day one.”
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“We were trying to provide a space to have a glass of wine, but also with that element of a journey through it, with stopping spaces throughout to a destination,” Paul says. “It wasn’t a complex brief, but it was an extensive one catering to all those needs.”
The evergreens include Pittosporum; Asplenium and Polystichum ferns; Pachysandra terminalis; Sarcococca, and Fatsia japonica.
There are numerous layers and colours in the planting, which give the scheme depth. “Different tones, textures and forms – that’s what we were trying to achieve,” Paul says. The acers in particular bring different shades into the garden at different times, including red, orange and yellow.
There’s also some mossy Sagina subulata in places, seen here in the paler coloured greenery continuing on from the mind-your-own-business. “It’s just to add a bit of interest,” he explains.
“It fitted really well with the aesthetic and feel of the garden,” Paul says. “We had to get it through the house, though. Luckily, it was a direct route. We rolled it through on scaffolding poles.”
Gamma bench, Thors Design.
“It’s about half a metre in depth,” Paul says. “The owners wanted to use the large pebble, which was already in the garden. We drilled a hole through it to create a trickle fountain.”
The mind-your-own-business dotted with Pachysandra terminalis has beautifully softened the edges, while Equisetum (horsetail) sprouts from the water.
“It’s lovely when it snows,” Paul says, “seeing the white sitting on the foliage, which is there even in December and January.”
What do you think of the way Paul and Peter have transformed this garden? Share your thoughts in the Comments.