A new contemporary family garden in East Dulwich. The children love climbing in the willow tree and there’s a mature oak at the back, other than working these into the design the brief was to create a robust family garden for imaginative play and vegetable growing. The garden needed to link back to the modern extension, be easy to maintain and look good from inside.

The new garden steps up to the back in a series of terraces. The garden is light and sunny so we were able to use timber sleepers to create strong changes in level. Two hardwood decks widen the garden visually and create comfortable spaces for the children to sit and play. A new board fence creates privacy but is low enough to stop the garden feeling too narrow and enclosed. All will fade to silver in time. The grey sandstone paving is laid in a pattern to echo the simplicity of the modern extension and link to the stepping stones through the grass. The balance of shapes, lawn and planting offset the willow tree. The planting in greens, greys, whites and purples is chosen to create structure, texture, seasonal interest and attract pollinators.

The front garden was improved with new square edging, gravel driveway and planting beds. In time the new planting will form a tightly clipped tapestry cloud hedge.

Ceanothus in June


Summer in the garden’s second year after shaping, moving and replanting.