contemporary garden screens

CONTEMPORARY GARDEN SCREENS


Using screens when designing gardens in central London is one of the key practices to alleviate issues of privacy and achieve precious seclusion. Walls, fences, trellises, louvers, railings, partitions and many types of hedges can all shelter us from prying eyes. While in many urban situations the proximity of tall buildings means using plants is the only way to preserve a retreat, architectural screening at eye level is a fundamental part of any design. The art of devising exterior screens involves many skills and is part of a slow process of experimenting and learning. At times, screening may be required to create shade, shelter from wind or hide unsightly objects and these factors affect the selection of materials and patterns yet in London we are restricted to 2 metres boundary height most of the time. Cost and maintenance should also be considered in the design process, yet which ever screen one may design, it should always appear beautiful both on the inside of the garden as well as on the outside…

1. Aluminium 2. Cedar louvers 3. Cedar cladding 4. Hardwood cladding 5. Cedar trellis 6. Hardwood louvers 7. Polypropylene webbing

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  1. ALUMINIUM.

The back of this Clerkenwell penthouse is facing a commercial office block and so screening was needed on 2 levels. The balcony outside the living room was planted with evergreen Pittosporum in an architectural planter which allows some light through its void. The entrance hall and bedrooms were screened using a sliced aluminium sheet which was then powder coated. The air conditioning units were concealed with a pattern of small square holes allowing air flow. The posts were powder coated in a darker colour to create definition and contrast, while the central section can be opened to provide an emergency exit.


contemporary garden screens aluminium

St Paul's roof terrace

  2. CEDAR LOUVERS.

This Parsons Green residence is facing South Park and its tennis courts. The fourth outdoor space is a small and sunny roof terrace outside the master bedroom. The client had carried an extensive renovation and installed a hot tub on the terrace. With neighbours on 2 sides and the park on the third screening was essential. I created a Western red cedar arbour to add definition ad human scale and to the sides of it low screens of louvered slats. We doweled each slat top and bottom so that they became movable giving the client the option to allow more or less light into the space as and when needed. The cedar is light weigh, looks great with the slate coping and stainless steel light fittings and merges with the cedar in the hot tub elevation.


contemporary garden screens cedar louvers

Parsons Green roof terrace

  3. CEDAR CLADDING.

Here I was able to mill the cedar into 3 sizes and create a repeating dynamic pattern within each of the 1 metre bays. This north London courtyard is at end of terrace and as such requires privacy as well security. The existing vertical hit-and-miss fence was painted a dark purple colour, while the horizontal cedar provides a sharp contrast and adds height. The posts supporting the cladding are also in cedar and the fixings used are stainless steel nails to prevent the cedar reacting with mild steel. The nails are swollen by the cedar hence hidden, fired by a small gas-operated finishing gun.


contemporary garden screens cedar cladding

Highbury garden

  4. HARDWOOD CLADDING.

This small Parsons Green patio was in a truly dilapidated state when I first arrive there. It not only required screening from the neighbours but also a solution for a boundary brick wall which was falling apart. To avoid having to rebuild the wall at a huge cost, we repaired it and built a hardwood cladding wall in balau. As the brick wall was incredibly uneven the wood frame was able to create a completely flush and plum surface at a small space sacrifice. The hardwood cladding is warm in tone, structurally robust and enabled us to link it to a bench seat along one corner of the patio.


contemporary garden screens hardwood cladding

Parsons Green small patio

  5. CEDAR TRELLIS.

Western red cedar is such beautiful material – it is light, easy to work with and versatile. Here in South Kensington the roof terrace is exposed to dozens of overlooking windows and so cedar was used extensively to enclose the whole space. As the distance to the overlooking windows is fairly long I could detail the gaps between the boards greater than usual. In turn this allows sunlight to create beautiful shadows on the terrace.


contemporary garden screens cedar trellis

South Kensington roof terrace

  6. HARDWOOD LOUVERS.

My client in this tiny London Bridge roof terrace was fanatical about wood and privacy. While balau hardwood was used in cladding, decking, coping and shelves I could now incorporate it into a sturdy and beautiful screen. With tall buildings opposite we wanted to shield the views from within the living room as well as within the terrace but not exclude sun light as the terrace is facing south. It is important to decide the width of panels according to the scale of the space without compromising its straightness which could be lost if overlong. The upright posts were clad in balau, planters with grasses, lighting and irrigation are all incorporate in and around this useful and alluring screen.


contemporary garden screens hardwood louvers

London Bridge small roof terrace

  7. POLYPROPYLENE WEBBING.

Introduced to me by a client in Italy, I have been using this material over the last few years, particularly to create privacy screens. On certain terraces or gardens where there is an existing vertical metal railing I am able to weave the webbing in and around the balusters creating interesting colourful solutions. Here in this Tower Bridge roof garden the seating area is overlooking the internal courtyard and overlooked by windows. Whilst I could not create a high barrier as the building is conserved, I use a pattern of green and brown straps in 2 sizes. The webbing straps are then fastened by a chrome rivet at each end by fixing it into a fold in the material. The undulation of the straps create a three dimensional quality with its own shadows and rhythms.


contemporary garden screens polypropylene webbing

Shad Thames roof garden

In my own garden a trellis on top of a fence surrounds the entire garden. The trellis is covered by more than half a dozen species of climbers: Clematis, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Jasmines, Vine and Chocolate vine all blend into one another. From time to time this practice is adaptable to central London contemporary gardens when both client and the situation call for more horticulture than architecture. Covering a beautiful screen with plants will obviously negate the purpose of the screen and compromise its stability, I therefore always try to offer equilibrium in the relationship between hard and soft landscaping around garden screens.


amir   Written, photographed (unless indicated) and posted by Amir Schlezinger.




contemporary garden screens cladding

Shoreditch roof terrace




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