Formal Structural Garden

This large 650 sq m garden on the outskirts of London was long established with a large number of mature trees, some in poor condition, and shrubs. The owners wanted to create a much more stylish and classically contemporary garden and they particularly wanted a number of other features including a fireplace, a dining area and a Pétanque court. They particularly wanted structured formal planting without too many ‘flowers’.

Charlotte Rowe created an upper terrace of buff-coloured English limestone with a long water feature cutting through surrounded with ‘cloud’ planting of clipped Buxus sempervirens. The water feature falls over the edge of the terrace down a 1.2m water wall of deep brown polished granite and then disappears into the ground amongst layers of yew and Buxus hedging. At the end of the garden this water feature is mirrored by a long polished granite strip in the ground with a monolith which acts as a focal point from the house. Both the water feature and stone monolith are lit at night along with the rest of the garden to dramatic effect.

Beyond the terrace, at ground level, there is a large lawn edged on one side by a large full-size Pétanque court planted with tall goblet-shaped Amelanchier lamarckii trees and a large wide planting bed with a row of fastigiated Carpinus betulus (hornbeam) trees and shade-tolerant planting on the other. At the end is a row of box pleached Carpinus and stone bench.

There is also an enclosed, private fireplace garden within a timber arbour made of Western Red Cedar with a log-burning fire as its main focal point. The design includes a wide built-in day bed for which we commissioned a mattress and cushions in outdoor fabric to match the cushions of the teak armchairs.

The planting uses a limited palette of colour with greens, limes and creams featuring clipped Buxus, Pittosporum, Ilex crenata, Hebe parviflora angustifolia and Myrtus communis ‘Tarentina’ inter-planted with perennials and ground covers. A number of trees were removed and these have been replaced with mature specimens including Parrotia persica and Fraxinus angustifolia ‘Raywood’ as well as a wonderful mature multi-stem Osmanthus heterophyllus.