A stylish small family garden design in Harlow, Essex

Grow a Friendly Space


The clients bought the property from new and have lived at the house for several years. Whilst they have made the interior just as they want it, the garden is as it was when the property was built, with some tired lawn and a concrete slab patio that does not offer the clients any opportunity to entertain or relax. The garden is quite shaded and overshadowed by a large brick wall along the back boundary which is part of a car park beyond.


The design aims to provide a low maintenance extension of the fresh and breezy nature of the interior of this family home. The area level with and adjoining the house will be paved with light grey sandstone to give enough space for the client to bring their large dining room table out into the garden when they wish to entertain. The remainder of the space will be floored with softwood decking, raised at one end to combat the slope and unite the garden as a continuous level surface. A slate tile edging will separate the sandstone and decked areas.

An ‘L’ shaped flush bed containing 4 box balls and a stainless steel water sphere will create a focal point from the house doors. A softwood timber pergola will enclose the decked area. This will be half roofed with timber joists onto which blue Perspex ‘lenses’ will be fixed. Suspended from the pergola frame is the main feature of the garden – a large, deep, timber swing seat ready for the client to dress with an array of cushions, mattresses and throws. Beaded curtains will hang down either side of the pergola structure to add definition and help to create the illusion of ‘a room in the garden’. Three globe lights hang from the pergola.

Along the left side of the back wall three 90cm high illuminated planters featuring box balls will add day- and night-time interest to the space. This is mirrored on the right side of the back boundary with three in non-illuminated white fibreglass planters. The left hand planters will be framed by three 3 outdoor canvas fixed to the wall (200cm x 40cm), whilst the right hand planters will benefit from a backdrop of backlit blue Perspex panels.