Peter Reader Landscapes
London: thames-side courtyard garden
This ground floor flat in a high end modern apartment block on the south bank of the Thames in Bermondsey has a good sized garden that includes a section of river wall that gives wonderful views upstream to Tower Bridge and the City, and downstream to the bustling river. The existing garden had been put in by the developers and consisted largely of a rather sad pond that prevented the use of the wider garden space and was surrounded by ugly concrete slabs.
The clients were keen to keep the openness of the garden, but wanted to bring the space to life. The pool meant that the far side of the garden was a dead space and the overgrown shrubs made the space seem smaller, dark and also they blocked the stunning views to the Thames.
The pond has been removed, opening up access to all of the space. The element of water has been retained though by the addition of a new rill that runs along the long axis of the garden towards the Thames. The clients existing garden statue was moved to the opposite end of the garden and delivers a fantastic full stop to the rill. It also visible from the main sitting room and acts as a focal point leading you out into the new garden. From here the rill draws you out into the garden and to the movement and sound of the water blade at the far end. The raised planter on the far side of the garden has been widened and the planting completely redesigned. Lower multi-stem trees, structural topiary Ilex crenata and lighter perennials provide beauty, a degree of privacy, but allow the stunning views up the Thames to be enjoyed.
New sawn limestone paving lightens and lifts the whole space and makes it feel clean lined and contemporary. The large area of paving is broken up with a series of square planting beds that are staggered as they travel down the rill. Their shape echoes the old semi-industrial area that surrounds the flats and itself is echoed in the Ilex cube topiary that sits in each square bed. The planting softens the whole space and like the raised bed, contains some plants such as grasses and iris that pick up on the waterside theme. These sway beautifully in the light riverside breeze that is often present, bringing a gentle movement to the planting and garden. Limestone paver bridges cross the rill at two places allowing the whole garden to be easily accessed and encouraging the clients to walk around the space. Final details include laser cut bespoke metal panels, that add interest and detail and turn the dark end garden wall into a thing of beauty; and bespoke trellis and a garden storage shed that blends into the design.
Construction by Belderbos Landscapes Ltd http://www.belderbos.co.uk