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Amir Schlezinger > garden designer

I design and build contemporary gardens, landscapes and roof terraces throughout London. Projects include City, Courtyard, Patio and larger Family gardens with a major speciality in Roof garden design and roof terrace design. In town, I have always been asked for low maintenance and this has evolved into an important element of all my gardens. I offer a complete design and build service, with a particular emphasis on project management.

With all clients, my key role is to translate their wishes into a workable design - creating beautiful yet highly liveable, social spaces.

Amir Schlezinger studied Garden Design at Middlesex University and Capel Manor College in London and graduated with a BA (Hons) in 2000. He has designed and realised over 200 projects since, cultivating a particular interest in roof gardens and terraces.

Amir Schlezinger has contributed to numerous magazines and books on garden design worldwide. Having grown in the Mediterranean region his knowledge and understanding of both European and Tropical flora has contributed to a style of planting which combines sculptural and architectural plants with northern European traditions.

Photo by Marianne Majerus

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Go up on the roof to get a natural high / by Pattie Barron

Evening Standard 06 November 2013 / photo by Clive Nichols

Meet the man with the monopoly on designing London's most beautiful roof gardens: Amir Schlezinger. Over the last decade he has created over 100 high-rise outdoor spaces that not only perch on some of the city's most exciting new developments but also complement its ever-expanding skyline. "First and foremost is to work with the view, framing the landscape," believes Schlezinger, who framed the view of nearby St Paul's Cathedral from a penthouse terrace in the city by craning in a ginkgo biloba tree, laid the boards of a hardwood deck on Grosvenor Waterside's roof garden to follow the line of Chelsea Bridge and, on a series of roof terraces at Tempus Wharf, installed customised 'wave' planters to emulate the River Thames beneath. On the 40th-floor roof terrace of Barbican's Cromwell Tower, concrete blocks hampered the view, so Schlezinger designed a movable platform as podium to facilitate gazing at the Gherkin and other spectacular landmarks. If there isn't a fabulous view, he might create an eye-distracting jungle of plants, or even borrow the neighbouring trees, focusing the lighting on those to create an eye-boggling vista at night. And if he's designing a roof garden on the lower terrace of a duplex, he might plant a tree so that, over time, the leafy canopy will provide a green view at both levels. "Because of new technology, modern terraces can look like real gardens, with raised beds, real grass and trees," says Schlezinger. Proof positive is the four-hole putting green of grass - albeit artificial - and sleek waterfall to distract from city hubbub, on a private penthouse roof garden in Battersea.

Ziggurat roof terrace

The client on the 6th floor of Clerkenwell's imposing Ziggurat building had simpler needs for the small, slim terrace that curved around the living area of his new apartment. Often out of town, he wanted an outdoor space that looked terrific all year round from both indoors and out - yet needed little upkeep. It took Schlezinger and team three weeks to create the ideal low-maintenance solution, first replacing the impractical white pavers with hardwood balau laid across the width, to both visually widen the space and easily follow the curve. A small floor area of glamorous black granite crystal defines the suntrap at one end and is divided from the decking by an LED strip that lights up at night. "The granite is expensive," says Schlezinger, "but as it is for such a small area, it's a no-brainer." As he does in all his projects, Schlezinger designed the containers to suit the space: in varying shades of grey, powder-coated steel planters have hollowed centres that are dramatically illuminated at night. One large, round, white container, designed to echo the white Saarinen Tulip table visible through the windows, is a garden in itself; with built-in irrigation and drainage, a ring of lighting around the base, and conveniently set on castors, it houses a trio of red-barked birch trees, mulched with perfect flat white Japanese pebbles. "Attention to detail, and refined finishes, are paramount in a confined garden space because the eye scans everything close-up," says Schlezinger.

The foliage in the planters is evergreen and weatherproof, maximising on contrasts of shape and texture, so that bushy, fragrant thymes are interspersed with the rounded leaves of bergenia and spikey bronze carex grasses as well as hart's tongue ferns. At the suntrap end of the terrace, a line-up of fragrant lavender Twickel Purple will soon form a low hedge; at the other end, a trough of boldly striped Phormium cookianum Cream Delight and elephant-eared Bergenia 'Dumbo' makes a striking full stop. However it is at night, when the four lighting zones flick on automatically, that the terrace looks its most dynamic, a fitting match for the vibrant, ever-changing city landscape it overlooks.

Trees for urban gardens

Lighting for small gardens

Outdoor garden furniture


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