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In this South-facing Mediterranean garden, multi-stem palms and Irises line the Western boundary. Red cedar deck, concrete paving and table, benches lit within through blue glass blocks and strong colours (blue and ochre) form a dramatic space. N London. Low maintenance Mediterranean garden design. Photographs by Helen Fickling.

Mediterranean garden design

Mediterranean garden design :: Islington

This 50sqm courtyard was nestled between 4 other spaces in a very urban corner of Islington.

It was also neglected for a long time and had a huge Sycamore tree right in its centre. The space however did have one brave owner, a lot of sunshine and some great potential. With the client hailing from the south of France and a hot climate courtyard there was only one way to go - design a Mediterranean garden. With helpful neighbours providing access, the tree gone and the client on holiday we could get our teeth into organising this place. Square space can be tricky to resolve and I would normally avoid the centre and design asymmetrically. Yet here, where the tree once resided I could create a focal point in the shape of a seating area and wrap it with a jungle of foliage. This would create circulation around the garden to appreciate the foliage.

A wall was built to separate one set of neighbours from the garden, which in turn created a wonderful and warm fabric for both to display pots against. The textured rendering gives a tactile appearance to the walls and really come alives when the sun highlights the grains and specks of sand. I chose a blue colour on this and the back walls, contrasted by an ochre colour for the other 2 walls. The long and narrow stepped path into the garden was decked in Western red cedar, which continues to create a sun deck by the line of pots. The cedar is contrasted in both colour and direction by the slim flags of white concrete. The white is continued in the cobbles covering the palm bed on the right - a contemporary mulch to mask the bare earth.

The benches were built in concrete blocks and rendered, yet left hollow within to be able to keep lighting inside. Blue glass blocks were made part of the front elevation design for the lighting to glow through. A sculpture provides a double focal point – one from the house towards the garden, the other from within the garden itself. 3 groups of pots line the various walls. Box balls line the approach to the garden on the stepped path. Variegated Yucca give sharp contrast against the blue wall in tall vases and square egg pots line the sun deck against the ochre wall. These pots are used for seasonal displays and over the years I have used them with Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans) Verbena bonariensis and Pseudopanax from New Zealand.




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