The clients, for whom Charlotte Rowe had already created a garden previously, had bought a beautiful detached house in the Bedford Park Conservation area. Major works were to be undertaken to both the interior and footprint of the property, including creating a passageway from the one side of the house, past the kitchen to the garage, and also a first floor extension.
The house was situated within a tricky triangular site and the garden was composed of a number of unconnected zones: a narrow front garden path, a main lawn which struggled in a semi-shady triangular space, and another narrow shady space leading to a dark poky ‘back garden’ area.
The challenge was to create a ‘secret garden’ in the main triangular space and a secondary dining ‘destination’ off the kitchen and to unite these spaces with visually attractive paths as all areas are clearly visible from windows on the ground floor.
For the ‘secret garden’ on the West side of the house, Charlotte Rowe created a rectangular core central terrace including a paved seating area with gravel inset with strips of limestone. New multi-stem trees including Parrotia persica and Amelanchier lamarckii were planted along the boundaries to punctuate the space and provide privacy. Low tables of Taxus hedging and planted rills were added to further break up the space and access was via a stunning bay hedge arch on the front side of the house.
The 30m long gravel path running the whole length of the site was re-aligned to run parallel with the house and is bordered with mixed planting. The path is punctuated by a series of limestone strips and planted rills. To the West, the path pushes through the newly located replacement bay arch to the ‘secret garden’, leading the eye down to an existing Mimosa tree and new urn in the apex of the triangle. To the East, the path continues along the second facade of the house to the new ‘destination’ dining area created in an under-used space between the kitchen and garage, a once dark, poky corner transformed into an inviting space for family suppers and entertaining.
On the other side of the ‘secret garden’, the winding gravel path leads to a new Western Red Cedar bin store and utility area. Acers and shrubs under-planted with low grasses and ground covers including Carex elata, Tellima and Pachysandra were planted to provide interest in an otherwise dull area of the garden.
There is also a lovely terrace of around 25 square metres accessed off the main bedroom on the first floor which has a good outlook and gets some light to the West and East. Charlotte Rowe Garden Design installed Western Red Cedar decking and bespoke planters planted with two stunning multi-stem Cornus mas trees, shrubs such as Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’ and lavender, and perennials including viola and Libertia.
Subtle lighting was used throughout to lengthen the use of the garden.