The owners loved the look and feel of their crowded and rather overgrown garden in Notting Hill but wanted to make the space more practical. The design challenge was to allow the spirit of the original garden to remain, but to rework the layout and planting to create a more practical but no less enchanting space.
The north-facing garden is surrounded on all sides by imposing Victorian houses, allowing only brief intervals of direct sunlight into the space. Existing planting consisted of a range of attractive plants and many rampant climbers over fences and trellising. Cutting back the climbers hard and removing unsuitable plants opened up a wide expanse of ground for new planting.
The existing higgledy-piggledy brick paviours were badly laid, and prone to becoming dangerously slippery with soil and moss. In their place a rectangle of reclaimed Yorkstone flags was laid, with mortared joints to help keep the surface free of soil and weed growth. The reclaimed paving preserves the old-world charm of the garden, and yet can be pressure-washed once or twice a year to remain clean and moss-free.
A wide range of suitable shade-tolerant plants was added in, around and under the existing planting to create a rich tapestry of colours and foliage. Delicate woodlanders such as wood anemone, ‘Old Aberdeen’ dog’s tooth violet, Star-of-Bethlehem, and maidenhair ferns nestle around the base of camellia, sweet box, hydrangea, peony and a mature magnolia tree. Whilst against the only sunny wall, jasmine and Californian lilac form a colourful backdrop to a low planting of Siberian iris, allium, gaura and campanula. In the early spring, a riot of bulbs punctuates the ground.
To bring the garden alive after dark, a circuit of seven 12v Hunza spots was added in and among the planting allowing the garden to be enjoyed at all times of the day and night. Accents of light around the garden create a subtle atmosphere, where candles and lanterns can still bring added ambiance and romance without being drowned out.
Finally, the existing blue trellising around the garden was repaired, and a small garden store painted the same colour was added.
The resultant space will, once the plants have matured, regain much of its earlier charm, yet remain a more open and usable space for entertaining and relaxing.
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