Kate and Simons garden in East Dulwich was a newly renovated Victorian end of terrace purchased from a developer. The plot is a good size, had an interesting garden studio and had been terraced by the developer with a large brick retaining wall. This had made the outdoor space feel very separate from the house and enclosed the small lower terrace.
The lower terrace was opened up by designing wide curved steps with very strong geometric retaining walls that lead the eye from the kitchen up to the main garden. The steps can also be used to seat extra guests and display seasonal pots of herbs and tender plants.
The planting brief was to be adventurous with the planting and I took full advantage of the opportunity to use lots of bold architectural foliage from plants including Dicksonia antartica (Tree fern), Musa basjoo (Bananna) and Tetrapanax papyrifer. Wide curved beds packed with colourful and structural herbaceous plants including Allium, Verbena and Perovskia soften the boundaries. To provide an informal seating area and additional privacy, I worked with the clients to design bespoke curved bench and oak deck area sitting beneath the canopy of the taller plants. The shaded and otherwise unused narrow corridor to the rear of the garden studio was transformed into an informal meandering path through lush woodland herbaceous plants and Japanese Acers.