Our client’s outdoor space around his Regency house in Dalston consisted of two small areas around the front and side of the house. One side was roughly rectangular and around 12 square metres and the other area of around 30 square metres wraps around the main staircase up to the front door and is roughly triangular. In addition, there was a dark gloomy light well to the back of the house off the kitchen of less than 10 square metres. All three were really tricky spaces and a bit of a design challenge.
Our client, a leading celebrity hair stylist, had a clear brief – to make his outdoor areas eclectic and interesting and a good reflection of the style of his house. The first design decision we made was to make the hard landscaping of the courtyard garden predominantly black and dark grey to better show off a wide range of rich planting. The ground, the walls and the trellis were paved or painted in dark grey and climbers were planted to soften the look.
In the larger, triangular space we designed a lovely private seating area by carving out a square within the wedge and planted two multi-stemmed Cornus mas underplanted with mixed perennials and ground cover. In the smaller raised area, which is south facing, we designed stepping stones and provided structure with Taxus and Ilex crenata balls surrounded by low grasses and ground cover including thyme. A lovely Magnolia was planted at the far end and a bespoke scorched timber bench finishes the look. The garden has thrived within its micro-climate of dark walls and paving.
In the tiny dark passageway behind the house we placed a lovely vintage mirror on the wall and introduced planters and timber shelves at the upper level and designed a built-in bench at the lower level transforming the view from the kitchen.