Elegant Terrace in Knightsbridge

Our client had a really good space of around 70 square metres outside her drawing room which although at ground level and with access to a community garden, was constructed on top of her kitchen. Therefore, to all intents and purposes it is a roof terrace. The building and the terrace are both Grade II listed with a wonderful 19th-century stone ornamental wall on two sides, an original water trough and a stone bench which were subject to restrictions imposed by the heritage listing.

Although the owner was keen to upgrade her terrace and bring a more contemporary look to it, Charlotte Rowe Garden Design advised that anything too contemporary would not sit well with the original features of the terrace and would not be approved for listed building consent. The other challenge in a relatively small space was to create a really good entertaining space with a large amount of seating and space for a large dining table so that large groups of friends and family could be accommodated. The design solution was to create a really elegant terrace with some modern touches such as sofas, and to enclose the more traditional features such as the benches within more contemporary veneer without touching them.

The other key was to remove the existing decking which jarred with the stone walls and the building in general and to replace it with a pale sandstone. We designed an L-shaped cupboard unit in one corner with a work top to act as a serving counter with an in-built specially designed BBQ . A black horizontal slatted trellis to replace the more old fashioned square trellis was the finishing touch.

Planting was kept to the minimum for ease of maintenance using large dove-grey planters with three multi stemmed silver birch trees on the boundary bordering the communal gardens, some evergreen screening in front of the trellis and some grasses and square clipped Buxus in the other containers. Lighting was to be major feature as the terrace would be used a great deal at night with the key feature plants uplit, shadow lighting behind the L-shaped cupboard, lighting under the benches and cross lighting from inside the planting containers.