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This back London garden has good proportions and is surrounded by mature trees from neighbouring properties as well as within it. I created a lush sub-tropical feel by using tall evergreens such as tree ferns and palms underplanted with grasses and perennials. The space is divided into 3 main sections with tiles, decking and granite.

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STOCKWELL | subtropical garden

60m garden | london terrace house


When first encountered, the garden was neglected for many years yet its size, shape and mature trees were valuable assets presenting good potential. Seeing how well the trees did and what grew in the surrounding gardens gave me confidence that here I could design a subtropical jungle that will look in place and will flourish.


Such a long space needed dividing, so a tiled patio leads up to a deck, which turns into a granite gravel area. This layout produces good impact as the garden is viewed from above most of the time and laying the materials on width increases the feeling of depth.


I introduced low hedges of varying textures and heights to articulate the space using Japanese holly, Abelia and Lilyturf. Tree ferns in five different heights are layered into all parts of the garden to give overhead canopies and add scale. Japanese maples, bamboo, ferns, sedges, grasses and palms give a leafy appearance, which although seems subtropical is in fact completely frost hardy in London.


With such architectural outlines, lighting becomes important to accentuate the shapes and add ambience. A bench at the end of the garden is lit beneath with LED lights, generating much illumination. The simplicity in the design is important to let the natural qualities of the garden stand out spatially. With a few straightforward strategies such as correcting scale to correspond with the large trees, easing the flow of spaces and using only a limited material palette, the plants take centre stage giving long-lasting pleasure.

Similar projects: Wandsworth garden | Primrose Hill patio | Hampstead garden | Fulham garden

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