You don’t need vast acreage in the countryside to be able to get creative in your garden. We’ve found that the most challenging tasks often inspire us to push ourselves harder and become more creative. The most challenging garden design is often, not always, those projects which are either very large or very small. With an abundant amount of space, you have to work very hard to attain the right mixture of open space – you can risk the project looking sparse and you can see huge features dwarfed and made out of place. With smaller projects, like roof gardens, front gardens and urban gardens – you’ve got the opposite problem. You need to find the perfect pieces, the perfect plants, the perfect materials – then stitch them together in a way that makes the garden beautiful, but functional and usable too.
There are two main styles that we see urban commissions come through with. The first is the “I want a slice of the country here in the city” – where we try to emulate a larger space with more wild flower varieties and bring some agricultural relaxation to the middle of, often times, London. The second is “I want a contemporary, urban living space” where decking, paving and seating come first – a place for entertaining and truly an extension of the home. We get all kinds of requests – but these are the main two.
We’re always trying something new and we try to stay ahead of the game and deliver originality in every project. Here is some of the standard equipment in our urban garden design tool kit:
Urban gardens are often limited by space, often long and narrow; tricky to fit in everything that you want to. To combat this, you can plan vertically and try to use heigh to your advantage. Use hedges and climbers to bring greenery into your limited space, try slatted fencing and compact furniture. Have your benches double as storage and try to think outside the box, combining uses where possible.
Plan your urban garden in zones, it can make the space feel larger and more structured. You can design a dining area, an entertaining area, a planting area. Use the home to complement your garden here, rather than the other way around.
Which is where continuity comes in. We’re not all lucky enough to have glass walls or French doors, so to get around this – we can mimic the materials that are used in the outdoor facing rooms. If your living room is wood panelled with a cream sofa, use cream pillows on your outdoor furniture and use decking with the same type of wood. Bring the outdoors inside and create a seamless continuation which will make both the garden and house feel bigger.