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I retained all the existing plants in this small London garden and turned a tired layout into a contemporary showcase of surfaces and lighting. The modern interior needed a direct response in the garden so detailing was important to amplify the space. A steel bench curves around the trunk of a mature palm tree straddling the limestone and artificial grass.

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HIGHBURY | contemporary small garden

39mē garden | modern town house


The original palm trees and bamboo offered a mature backdrop and good scale to otherwise a traditional and meaningless garden space. I devised a way to retain all of them and by using diagonal lines was able to create a naturally flowing composition which respects the old and uplifts it into a dynamic blueprint. The inverted, secluded space is part of an end of terrace modern town house in north London, which is not only viewed from the kitchen but also from the many large windows on the upper levels. Therefore, a strong floor pattern was key to enhance the focus on the garden - both day and night.


The paving design alternates between granite, limestone and artificial grass - this division helps create a visual separation between the dining and seating areas. LED lighting strips, set between the various surfaces, add much drama in the evening - when the garden gains a whole new dimension. Layering down lights from above creates strong architectural silhouettes projected through the foliage of the sculptural specimens. The existing fencing was decorated with a dark purple colour, which invigorates the left hand side of the garden absorbing the sun - contrasted with a muted taupe on the other 2 more shaded sides. This asymmetrical approach helps in opening up the small space.


To further augment the asymmetrical approach, which helps enlarge the apparent space, a curved bench contrasts the linearity of the surfaces by wrapping around the tall trunk of an existing palm tree. This position benefits from good sunlight entering from the west, with the garden view at this position opening up towards the sky and the verdancy of gardens in the distance. At this vantage point, the view is further enhanced by positioning custom designed tall, curved planters in the corner to reiterate the sinuous lines of the bench and provide an architectural focal point.

Similar projects: Islington Mediterranean garden | Saffron Walden garden | Sandbanks courtyard | Clapham garden

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