Contemporary Architectural Garden

The clients, both busy professional people, were carrying out major works on their Grade II-listed Regency house in Kensington, West London and wanted an elegant garden which reflected the decorative style of the architect-designed interior of their house. The interior design included limestone, simple white walls and hardwood finishes, setting off an eclectic collection of paintings, sculpture and furniture sourced from all over the world.

The existing garden had timber decking and was planted with mature, architectural plants, giving it an overgrown, claustrophobic feel. It was on two levels, with the upper level badly encroaching on the house. The owners wanted a new garden with a light, Mediterranean touch to reflect their Southern European origins.

Charlotte Rowe designed a cool, contemporary space on two levels using Portuguese limestone, lime-washed walls, bespoke timber benches, trellis and containers and a mix of raised beds, gravel and container planting. We pushed back substantially the upper level of the garden away from the house, creating two really good sized spacious areas. The central focus of the new garden is a stepping stone water feature filled with polished black pebbles with a simple copper water spout. This is complemented by a pebble and planted rill running like a ribbon through the garden.

The planting is a combination of shrubs and perennials, with some Mediterranean specimens, including clear stemmed olive trees. We designed Iroko containers which are planted with Convolvulus cneorum to provide all year round interest. The lighting, which is a combination of subtle spots and dramatic uplighting, keeps the garden looking really special at all times of the day and all through the year.