Secret gardens in the city

  • 20 Oct 2015

A well-designed outdoor space is a precious commodity in prime central London, attracting significant value and interest. In the October issue of ABC+D, we look at the trends driving the market… 

Private gardens are in short supply in London, so making the most of this highly-prized asset is a priority for developers. Architects and designers at the top end of the market face a continual challenge in responding to client briefs – how to create a private and tranquil outdoor space in heavily built-up central London? ChapelStreet-01

One firm who believes it has found the answer, is high-end residential specialist Wolff Architects. The prime and super prime market in London demands a bespoke design solution which is both functional and architecturally sensitive to the local vernacular. 

In recent years the market has been heavily influenced by clients wanting a simple but exquisitely executed contemporary design which incorporates elements of the classical English landscape garden. Natural materials such as wood and stone are well-suited to this style, while integrating manmade materials such as glass and stainless steel lends the garden an up-to-date feel. 

In a market where indoor space is at a premium, adding an outdoor feature such as a deck, terrace, patio or pergola creates a space to support a range of attractive lifestyle uses – adding perceived value, particularly if offering private space for entertaining. 

Egerton Crescent, Kensington

This project comprises a completely refurbished Grade II listed townhouse and the addition of a modern, two-storey glass rear extension. This juxtaposition between the old and the new is made possible by the creative use of glass and steel. 

Large sheets of frameless glass are supported by glazed fins, offering fantastic views directly onto the garden, which has been beautifully landscaped to include a Georgian-style staircase, ceramic water feature and sawn Portland stone steps leading up to the garden. Secret city gardens are becoming a growing trend

Chapel Street, Belgravia

Despite the restrictions of the Belgravia Conservation Area, this garden reflects the best of classical design with contemporary cool. A dark wood terrace, with bespoke outdoor furniture, overlooks the garden from a magnificent eerie. 

A second, intimate seating area is formed by a small pergola at the far end of the property. Precise geometric shapes, the parallel use of stone and the grass steps leading to the top-level garden are perfectly measured to exude symmetry. 

Winnington Road, Hampstead

A garden heavily indebted to the classical 18th century English landscape garden, the central feature of this garden is a gothic temple, inspired by the Georgian folie, sitting on a small promontory. From here a striking water feature flows down sawn stone steps to divide the garden into two symmetrical halves. 

At the opposite end of the garden, closest to the house, is a semi-circular patio of Portland stone with carefully manicured hedgerows and bespoke stainless steel handrails. 

Cavendish Avenue, St John’s Wood

Natural and manmade materials – primarily wood, glass and stone – blend seamlessly with strategically placed plants and shrubbery to create this multi-tiered garden in exclusive St John’s Wood. 

The different levels in the garden are used to great effect to form secluded spaces, including a decked seating area which is attached to the property in addition to a covered wooden pergola towards the rear of the garden. 

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