so the first task was to move the retaining wall further away. The 900 x 600 sandstone slabs came from Yorkshire and were distinctly buff and light blue with some wonderful slight veining. With a thickness of 75mm this meant I could sandwich the blue ones together to create perfect step heights. A Box hedge follows the angle of the steps to create a low barrier which adds movement and defines the entry points to the seating area. The delicate purple foliage of a Japanese maple is clearly defined against the light sandstone. Here in a small patio garden in north London they do well in the damp shaded environment, which is reminiscent of their native woodlands.
My new bench design was cantilevered and over 4 meters long. It also had 3 sections as it was angled to the shape of the patio. A light but robust metal framework was built into the front wall of the raised bed as we went along. The frame was then dressed with hardwood to match the deck. The raised bed was not backfilled with earth as we normally do as there was an existing Hawthorn tree in the right corner. This had created a wonderful effect, day and night, as the plants emerge from the base of the bed.