City courtyard

‘Alex totally understood the need for an attractive, contemporary garden that was easy to manage – a welcoming garden that offered space not only for children to play, but for dining, lounging and entertaining.’


This north London garden was unevenly paved with slabs infilled with gravel and curved raised beds that detracted from the clean lines of the space. The clients had young children and wanted to make the most of the area while increasing privacy and retaining some sense of greenery. The house had recently been redesigned by Charles Mellersh with contemporary Crittall doors facing the garden and the redesign took these as inspiration, with a structure of rectangular and square planted areas within pale grey sandstone paving.



A generous area of the paving, laid by Danscapes Landscapers, was positioned near the house for the children to play and a pleached hornbeam hedge provided privacy and a fresh, green focal point from the house to go behind contemporary dining furniture. A generous border of hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ create a lush backdrop to the dining bench, with full white flowerhead in summer and seedbeds for winter interest.


Horizontal slatted fencing, a bike store and a curved single garden seat were created by furniture maker Peter Martin, all from Western Red Cedar.




Spotlights highlight the planting areas and uplight the pleached trees with wall lights on a separate circuit providing lighting for dining. A magnolia lilliflora Nigra tree in the corner provides blossom in spring and will be strung with lights when it reaches maturity.




Planting is in a palette of white, fresh green and purple-red, with existing buxus plants reused and clipped to provide low rectangular and square hedges contrasting with blocks of white agapanthus, tall veronicastrum, ferns, astrantia and a carpet of white liriope. White and claret tulips provide spring colour. An existing mature euphorbia mellifera was left as a lush, tall focal point down the left hand side.


Climbing roses and two red berried pyracantha were planted up the tall brick wall on the right. Along the bottom of the Crittall doors, low ferns and Japanese forest grass provide a lush narrow border.







Client testimonial

‘We contacted Alex because the original ‘country cottage’ garden did not fit with ‘modernist’ refurb of our contemporary city town house. Also shrubs, trees and climbers had taken over, casting it into shade, stopping the growth of colourful flowers at ground level and making it an untidy, cramped space that made it difficult to move around. On top of that, the arrival of children highlighted how unusable and unwelcoming it was as they didn’t want to go out into it.

Alex totally understood the need for an attractive, contemporary garden that was easy to manage – a welcoming garden that offered space not only for children to play, but for dining, lounging and entertaining.

For us, the key to the success of Alex’s work was not only making sense of the space we have or her gorgeous choice of planting, but in how Alex related its design to our house which had recently had a ‘modernist’ refurb. The house and garden now complement each other.

The garden seems larger and much more open than it did before, is well used now by adults and children alike and is easy to maintain. We switch on the garden lights in the evening to admire the view (and it then gives you a sense of having a larger living space!). It’s hugely admired by visitors and is a great success.’