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Creating distinct garden zones, north London

This long but narrow town garden in north London had become very overgrown
during a long period of building 
work. New seating areas were required, and a
pathway leading from the house to 
the studio room at the bottom of the garden.
The owners wanted to retain two 
mature fruit trees to the left hand side but
apart from that gave the Urban 
Hedgerow a blank slate to work with.

We quickly discovered we had a love of Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) in common and decided
to make these the centrepiece of the ‘gravel garden’, an area about one third of the way down,
so that the Acers could be clearly seen from the house.

Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’ making a compelling focal point in its autumn glory

London Stone’s clean white porcelain tiles in Sandy White were chosen for the patio extending
from the bifold doors and the same slabs were used for the path down to the studio.

For the rest of the planting, we took inspiration from the clients’ own taste for clean, minimalist lines and
love of foliage colour and texture rather than relying on flowers for colour. We used Pittosporum tenuifolium
‘Silver Queen’, Euphorbia characias subsp wulfenii and Nandina domestica, as well as Lavandula angustifolia
‘Munstead’ for its shape and fragrance. Two Euonymus alatus give an extra burst of bright red foliage in
autumn to complement the Acers as they turn golden and bronze.

To the right hand side, where the border is shaded, we used geometric plants: upright Prunus lusitanica
‘Angustifolia’ and Taxus baccata cubes to echo the shape and dimensions of the lawn. The structured
planting here creates a feeling of space despite the narrow lawn.