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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 to maximise the small space, contrasting dramatically with the Ipe hardwood. Lush planting incorporates palms, bamboo and grasses. NW London. A garden by mylandscapes contemporary garden designers. Photograph by Helen Fickling.

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Garden designers London :: Hampstead

The need for some white noise to drown out the sound of a nearby train lead to the design of this pool in this 40sqm courtyard.

Whilst the waterfall masks the traffic noise, the 3 small fountains provide a calmer setting. When we met in early spring, the clients had just returned from a holiday in Bali and were looking for garden designers that could tackle their space in an inventive 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, by the time I passed through the kitchen 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 and unusual plants could be used in this sheltered 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 plants nursery to choose the plants by hand – too see them, appreciate them, experiment and learn. It has to be hands on – this is how I create my planting schemes. Here, there was scope to further specialise, particularly in palms. The plants were collected from 3 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 plants from Japan, China, Australia, South Africa and Mexico.

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