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The sound of the waterfall masks traffic noise while the fountains provide a calmer setting. The colour scheme utilises shades of slate, contrasting dramatically with the Ipe hardwood. The foliage of palms, bamboo and grasses forms a lush haven designed to create seclusion and vitality. The south-westerly aspect allows sub tropical flora to thrive.

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HAMPSTEAD | modern london garden

40m garden | contemporary renovation

When we met in early spring, the clients had just returned from a holiday in Bali and were seeking garden designers that could tackle their space in an inventive, contemporary way. The cue for the design was therefore taken directly from this experience. There were lots of wood artefacts in the house and as I love this material, it was fairly obvious what needed to be done. When the compass indicated a southwest facing garden it was anticipated that a lot of exotic vegetation could be used in this sheltered London haven.

In such a small space it is important to use simplicity and strong lines to create a flow from the house as well as back in. The grey limestone paving continues the pattern and size of the kitchen surface. With the space balanced and made to look twice as big as before, the pool was detailed. Although it started as a functional white noise element it had to stand out in its own right. I wanted it to appear almost as a garden on its own - so a palm tree is situated close to the waterfall tying it to the rest of the garden in a triangle of palm trees.

I always travel to the nursery to select the plants by hand – to inspect them, appreciate them, experiment and learn. Here, there was scope to further specialise, particularly in palms. The specimens were collected from three different nurseries, trunks cleaned, canopies thinned and ramps built in the garden to be able to lift the very heavy specimens into the high raised beds. The final picture reveals flora from Japan, China, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.

Similar projects: Fulham garden | Islington Mediterranean garden | Belgravia small garden | Clapham town garden

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