The homeowners’ previous garden at their four-bedroom Victorian house in north London, consisted of a patio, lawn, path and a tumbledown shed. ‘I wanted more interest, and a crisp, architectural feel,’says the homeowner.
‘As our grown-up children live at home, it was about creating a relaxing, low-maintenance, adult space for everyone. Another must-have was a shed for me to keep my sewing machine and fabrics.’
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Acting on a recommendation, the homeowner and her partner Sakura Gardens Ltd. ‘My partner and I already had ideas about the planting and other things we wanted, like the water feature,’ says the homeowner.
‘Sakura’s designers pretty much hit the brief first time, with just a few small tweaks needed here and there.’
Multi-zoned garden makeover
The garden has three sections – the top patio, which is bathed in morning sunshine, the central seating area and the bottom deck with a water feature, and homeowner’s ‘she shed’ for her crafting activities.
The movement of the sun, from the patio to the far end of the garden, helped dictate the new layout. The seating was placed centrally, where it would enjoy almost all-day sunshine. Its linear design was carefully measured to give the illusion of regular, straight lines, as the garden is not quite a perfect rectangle.
The seating also contains the majority of the planting, which was chosen for its height, movement and structural shapes.
Benches have been built into the concrete planting troughs to make them look as if they’re floating above the ground. White gravel underneath them emphasises the effect.
The homeowner makes her own cushions, which soften the stone seating and add to the sense of a comfortable, outdoor room. Foliage prints pick up the leafy surroundings and crisp black-and-white stripes give edge and contrast.
Concrete raised beds
Planting troughs are integrated into the bench seats, so the plants create a semi-transparent screen at eye-level. ‘We’ve planted white flowers, like alliums and lilies, but it’s mostly about textures and greens.’
‘I love the palms and grasses we chose, especially the variegated and blue-toned ones,’ says the homeowner.
Patio dining area
A round dining table maximises space on the raised patio, which has a full view of the whole garden. Steps lead down to the stepping-stone path. ‘We discussed using artificial grass,’says the homeowner, ‘but I’m glad we went for the real thing – it’s authentic and natural.’
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The ultimate she shed
The homeowner turned her shed into an inviting retreat for sewing and relaxing. The bespoke design incorporates insulation, double-glazing and a storage area for the garden seat cushions. The shed’s dark interior and bright coloured accessories reflect the homeowner’s unique, adventurous style.
Water feature idea
The water feature is built into the deck at the end of the garden. A twice-yearly treatment with protective teak oil keeps the yellow balau hardwood looking smart and glossy.
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‘In all, we spent £30,000 on the garden, including the shed,’ says the homeowner. The work was an investment, but it’s made the outdoor space much more usable and enjoyable, as well as improving the flow and the feeling of space in the ground floor of our house.’
The homeowner is delighted with the new garden space. ‘It was definitely money well spent, as well as an enjoyable project,’ she says. ‘Everyone loves the garden now and we’re out here all day in summer.’