Our clients were looking for a garden design in Balham, South London. The clients have lived at the property for a few years. They are currently redecorating the interior and would like to achieve an exterior space to match. The space is enclosed on two sides by buildings, and so has high brick walls as its backdrop. As with most new build houses the soil is not of good quality and drainage has been a problem on occasion. Currently the garden is laid mostly to lawn, with a small concrete slab patio adjoining the house.

The wall bordering the left hand side of the garden has an air conditioning pipe at about two metres height halfway down the garden, which emits hot air and creates a distracting noise. Unsure as to whether this can be moved, the clients are looking for a solution that will lessen the noise, divert the hot air that the pipe emits and hide the unsightly pipe itself.

The clients would like a clean, modern ‘outdoor room’ in which to entertain and hold barbeques.

They like lush tropical gardens and a fusion of textures.

The space has been divided into three distinct sections.

The area directly outside the back door will be laid with attractive hardwood decking and will serve as a utility area and possible site for the BBQ when entertaining.

An impressive timber structure constructed in the centre of the space will form the garden’s main focus. This pergola will be clad with horizontal deck boards at one end to create a ‘wall’ to obscure the troublesome outlet pipe. The cladding will continue across 1/3rd of the roof to offer shade to a dining area below. The floor beneath the structure will be paved with sandstone slabs, upon which will stand a bespoke table and bench seats. One end of the table and bench seats will be attached to the timber clad ‘wall’, while the other end will be supported by legs.

The timber pergola will also house a tall stainless steel water feature. As well as creating an aesthetic focus from within the house, the sound of water gently cascading down this polished metal wall will help to mask the noise from the heating outlet pipe on the left hand boundary. Decorative aluminium chain curtains hanging from the cross beams of the pergola will give the structure a shimmering, fluid appearance and increase the sense of privacy and enclosure within. The client also has the option to erect a shade sail over the exposed section of the pergola roof should they wish.

The bottom left of the garden, which gets the last of the afternoon sun, will accommodate a rattan sofa and chairs on a decking patio for more informal, relaxed entertaining. Planting beds around the boundaries will feature architectural specimen plants interspersed with tall planters containing box balls to give the garden a strong sculptural feel.  Large and funky globe lights hanging within the pergola will add to the Scandinavian retro atmosphere, while an adult swing with a leaf shaped seat will bring a dose of fun to the space.

Agapanthus africanus ‘Albus’ African lily
Ageratina altissima @Chocolate White snakeroot
Allium stipitatum ‘Mount Everest’ Allium
Asplenium scolopendrium hart’s tongue fern
Aster umbellatus flat top aster
Athyrium filix-femina lady fern
Bergenia ‘Silberlicht’ Elephants Ears
Buxus sempervirens  Box Ball
Centranthus ruber ‘Albbus’ Valerian
Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ clematis (group 1)
Clematis florida Pistachio (‘Evirida’) clematis (group 2)
Cyrtomium fortunei fortune’s cyrtomium
Echinacea purpurrea ‘White Swan’ coneflower
Hosta Big Daddy Plantain lily
Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris Climbing Hydrangea
Hydrangea seemanii Climbing Hydrangea
Lonicera japonica ‘Halls Prolific’ Japanese honeysuckle
passiflora caerulea White Passionflower
Pennisetum villosum feathertop
Phormium cookianum subsp hookeri ‘Tricolor’ New Zealand Flax
Polystichum setiferum soft shield fern
Solanum laxum ‘Album’ potato vine
Stipa Gigantica Giant Oats
Trachelospermum jasminoides star jasmine

Clearance and preparation
To comprise:    
~ Remove existing paving    
~ Remove existing turf    
~ Remove general garden waste    
Waste disposal (skip hire)    
Install various patios and pathways as per design:     
To comprise:    
~ Excavate areas to be paved to depth of approx. 150mm – 175mm below finished level of paving  
~ Lay MoT hardcore base at 100mm compacted thickness     
~ Install approx. 13 sq metres Mint Fossil sandstone paving in formal ‘stretcher’ pattern (560mm x 840mm slabs)
All materials for above    
Disposal of excavated waste    
* Paving to be laid on full mortar bed (min. 25mm thick). Mortar joint sizes not to exceed 10mm.   
Paving to be laid with 1:80 run-off into planting beds    
Lay Yellow Balau decking as per design. To comprise:    
~ Level area to be decked and install compacted hardcore base (75mm – 100mm thick)  
~ Construct frame from pressure treated timber (100mm x 50mm), using galvanised joist hangers and structural screws to fix.
~ Install adjustable decking piers to support frame    
~ Lay approximately 15 square metres Yellow Balau decking (145mm x 22mm) using green coated decking screws to fix
Board direction as per design    
All boards to be laid with expansion joints of not more than 10mm    
All screws to be countersunk    
Construct timber pergola structure (2200mm high), as per design. To comprise:  
~ Yellow Balau hardwood (100mm x 100mm) for posts and top beams   
~ Exterior timber screws to fix    
~ Concrete to secure support posts (minimum 600mm in ground)    
~ Yellow Balau deck boards for cladding as per design    
~ Decorative aluminium chain curtain (client to choose colour)    
Construct bespoke timber seating as per design/visual. To comprise:  
To comprise:    
~ Yellow Balau deck boards    
~ Yellow Balau posts for frame and support legs     
~ Timberlock screws and green coated deck screws to fix    
Waste disposal    
Water Feature
Install stainless steel water wall as per design. To comprise:    
1 x stainless steel water wall feature (1830mm high by 355mm wide), including reservior  
Decorative aggregate to dress reservoir    
All electrical installation materials*, to include armoured cabling, weatherproof switch**, etc  
Electrical installation by qualified electrician***    
Labour to manually install    
* See lighting section for electrical installation notes and specifications  
** Water feature to be controlled on separate switch from lighting circuit. Switch will be located next to that for lighting circuit.
Install plants to all beds as per planting list in supplied design presentation. To include:  
~ Plants     
~ Decorative bark chips to mulch planting beds (at depth of approximately 50mm)  
~ Labour prepare beds and install plants     
Supply and install planters. To comprise    
~ Soil to fill    
~ Decorative mulch to dress    
~ Labour    
Various lighting as per lighting scheme. To comprise:    
~ 24 x 12v 5w spike spotlights for planting beds    
~ 4 x 240v stainless steel adjustable spotlights for pergola corner posts (1 per post)  
~ 2 x 240v stainless steel double headed spotlights to install on boundary walls around rear seating area   
~ 3 x Slide Globo pendulum light to install from pergola covered roof  
All necessary connectors, lamps (bulbs) and transformers for fittings  
All electrical installation materials*, to include RCD, armoured cabling, weatherproof switch**, etc  
Electrical installation by qualified electrician***    
Labour to manually install fittings    
* All electrical materials to be suitable for exterior use and rated to at least IP65 where appropriate  
** Lighting to run on one single circuit,  i.e. controlled by a single switch (all lights come on together). The exact location of the 
switch will be determined on site and may be dependent on the recommendations of the electrician  
*** A copy of the appropriate NICEIC Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate will be given to the client on completion of the work
PLEASE NOTE (1): Wherever possible, all cabling and junction boxes will be hidden. However, due to wiring regulations and the nature 
of some of the materials used, in some cases this may not be possible and some cables, boxes, etc may be visible. These will be made 
as inconspicuous and sympathetic with the style and finish of the garden as possible.   
PLEASE NOTE (2): The above specifications and quoted price for the work is dependent on the existing interior electrical installation 
being safe and suitable for the addition of further wiring/fittings (for example the main consumer unit must be must be properly earthed). 
If it becomes apparent during installation that the existing electrical installation is unsafe/unsuitable for purpose then Earth Designs  
may be unable to complete the exterior installation (i.e. Earth Designs may be unable to connect the installation to the mains power or 
issue a certificate) until the client has undertaken the necessary remedial work. The cost of any necessary remedial works is not 
included in the quoted price above. It remains the responsibility of the client to organise and contract any necessary remedial work, 
although Earth Designs may administrate/organise this for the client at additional cost on request.  
Hanging seat  
Supply and install hanging seat as per design. To comprise:    
~ ‘Autumn Leaf’ cast aluminium hanging seat    
~ Fixings to secure