a sunken, shady, north facing garden 12ft by 20ft. Not at the outset, an auspicious space; a north facing, concrete yard with a tiny outside loo half way down the garden on the left and two and a half boundary walls, thirty-plus feet high. But a welcome challenge. The space gets brief moments of time in the sun, until mid afternoon, allowing for a wider variety of plants to have a go, than you might think for a shady spot. This design was to be pared back to basics and filled with plants. Functionally the design had to accommodate outside storage space and access to the alleyway at the bottom of the garden.
The two largest walls (the back of the client’s house and the side two storey extension of the next door neighbour) are painted magnolia to warm up cold and/or grey days and bounce light around the space and into the rooms in the house. In a tiny space, the ground surface was decided on by its ability to do more than just look good. The garden has an informal feel and so the material was to be tactile and audible, so slate chippings were used and they also echoed the slate roofs of the houses around.