My Garden

Before

South facing and very sunny, the main problem was a lack of shade. As we live in a city I wanted to include as much greenery as possible and encourage wildlife into the garden. I also wanted to extend the planting areas so that I could experiment with new combinations and textures of planting material. As my family has evolved the need for grass and play equipment has diminished but we still need storage and areas to gather.

I also wanted to think about the long term needs of the family in a warming climate. South facing is lovely until it is too hot to sit in the sun, so a major part of the design is a pergola across the back of the house, shading the terrace and kitchen in summer. Large leaved deciduous climbers have been planted to  grow over the pergola, giving shade in the summer but losing leaves in the winter to allow more light in. Sliding screens divide the space and provide flexible shading to the terrace. The screens can be moved depending on the time of year, the angle of the sun and allowing the view out to the garden to be changed according to which plants are looking good. This allows the view from the kitchen to be manipulated so it always looks inviting.

On the terrace I have included a water feature with 3 spouts and a trough to create a gentle sound of water. The water feature is also planted with foliage plants to add interest.

Lighting plays a major role in this garden, extending the period of interest – both as a view to look at from the kitchen and also to use for entertaining. Lighting the water feature has added movement and drama to the seating area.

At the end of the garden I have created a secondary seating area screened from the house by a pergola and multi stemmed silver birch tree. The silver birch is the same variety as trees in a neighbouring garden, so I am ‘borrowing’ the view to make my tiny garden seem bigger. I have painted the fencing, shed and pergola matt black so that the plants stand out and the area feels more enclosed. I re-used paving from the original patio here to minimise waste and recycle what we already had.

The plants in my garden have been chosen to thrive in the existing conditions. I have used lots of different grasses to create texture and many of these are invaluable in the winter, providing structure and form through the quiet season. In the summer the garden is full of flowering perennials which attract insects and bees, and I am also lucky enough to be able to grow semi-hardy plants such as Cannas and Agave for added drama.