This North London garden design seeks to unify a large and unstructured family space, providing two distinct areas for dining and entertaining while retaining a child friendly aspect.

Flooring throughout will be in attractive, stylish and durable Travertine paving laid in a formal ‘grid’ pattern, chosen to echo that intended for use within the house (client to supply). The level of the existing patio adjoining the house will be lowered to bring the new larger patio level with the rest of the space. This patio will feature a 3m square area of soft Western Red Cedar decking, to provide contrast to, and break up, the expanse of white paving.


Two travertine pathways will traverse the length of the space, running either side of a large rectangular lawn, to join a second area of paving towards the back of the garden. Each pathway will be framed by tall and imposing arches, constructed from sturdy new railway sleepers, that lead one’s eye through the space to a second dining/entertaining area in the back third of the garden.

This area will comprise a further expanse of paving which steps up to raised area at the end of the garden. Featuring a covered conversation pit, this area will offer a sense of seclusion and shade. Consisting of railway sleeper walls with a Red Cedar floor, this slightly sunken (approx. 40cm) ‘pit’ will be edged with railway sleepers and feature a railway sleeper table large enough for drinks or an entire meal. The pit edge will serve as the seating, around which the client can place cushions for comfort. Enclosing this space will be a solid pergola-style structure, clad at either end and across the ceiling with Red Cedar boards and made water-proof with roofing felt to provide shelter on greyer days.


Lawn and paths will be bisected by an arresting bespoke walk-over water feature. This feature will comprise a long (6m), sunken metal rill edged with sunken railway sleepers, which will be covered with clear perspex where it cuts through the lawn and strong fibre glass grills at either end where it crosses the pathways. Two raised railway sleeper pools, one at either end of the rill, will gently pour water through the grills to the rill below, to imbue the space with the soporific sound of running water. This highly unusual, child-friendly feature will provide endless fascination for young and old alike, and is sure to be a talking point on any occasion.

Planting in the space will comprise evergreen shrubs and herbaceous perennials in red, blue and pink in beds along either side boundary, with tall bamboo providing screening and privacy across the back of the space.

This north London garden design will be complete with a comprehensive lighting scheme intended to allow continued use of the space when the sun goes down. The pergola structure will be illuminated with a host of large LED light fittings set into the ceiling, casting a gentle yet effective wash across the conversation pit below, while the pit itself will be defined with a set of smaller LED lights set into the railway sleeper sides. The garden user’s journey down the space will be guided by a series of 240 volt stainless steel down lighters installed on the inside of each post of the railway sleeper arches, turning each arch into a stunning nocturnal sculpture. Bright submersible pond lights positioned under the grill at either end of the sunken rill will illuminate both the waterfalls and the main span of the rill, casting a subtle, undulating aura across the space. Finally, a series of low voltage spotlights set throughout the planting beds will cast a gentle glow throughout the garden, while serving to illuminate individual specimen plants.


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