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The layout of the roof garden relates to the surrounding architecture in outlines, textures and colours. The panoramic view is framed by low foliage, which produces sharp relief against the dramatic backdrop. Entertainment is enhanced by speakers culminating in a mini golf putting green at the top level.

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VAUXHALL | ST GEORGE WHARF | roof gardens design

220mē roof garden | city apartment


Although I tend to design asymmetrical compositions and love trees in the landscape both these attitudes had to be different here. It felt right to engage a symmetrical design and I knew that most trees would suffer in the extreme wind. The strong pointed shape of the building, mimicking a boat, needed to be repeated in the layout of the roof garden. Two curved raised beds flank the steps with 3 matching Agave specimens either side.


The Iroko deck is edged with beige concrete pavers and follows the exact arc of the building. Such a large deck, in the ferocious westerly wind, had to be fastened to the pavers below. I introduced a pattern of two 6” boards followed by three 4” boards, which gives a contemporary variation. We also needed to create a dozen removable covers for the abseiling access points. The deck is a pleasing feature with its curved hardwood fascia and shallow height making it appear lightweight.


Enduring intense wind, the foliage had to be kept low. Within this framework, Box hedging, Agave and Yucca act as anchoring, solid points between which the movement of softer textures such as grasses and Phormium enhance the design. The symmetrical low Box hedge brings green to the living room and is able to remain fairly static while other foliage moves in the wind. It is repeated on a much bigger scale on the left to provide a wind break and privacy to the dining area.


With such an abundant array of landmarks surrounding the roof gardens in every direction it was important to design with the views uncluttered: Battersea Power Station to the west, BT Tower, Big Ben, Millbank Tower, The London Eye and Vauxhall Bridge. To enjoy the roof amidst all this is almost surreal. Yet on a still, sunny day the place is utterly cinematic with an incredible sense of place.

Similar projects: Covent Garden roof | Shad Thames roof garden | Borough city terrace | Thames Barrier roof terrace

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