Simple Chic courtyard in Chelsea
The rear garden of this townhouse in Chelsea had been fitted out with stone slabs surrounded with very narrow borders for the planting. The garden being on two different levels, a pond had originally been built on the upper level and had then been converted to a storage area under a strip of decking boards.
After several attempts to remove the dirt and grime from the slabs, the owner decided to give a fresh take to her garden to make it look greener and more natural with hardwood decking.
In the lower ground floor, bedrooms open up to the garden through large French windows. Garden can also be accessed from the kitchen via black iron stairs. As the full height glazing panels in the kitchen overlook the garden it was important that the aerial view provided interest at any time of the day, hence a subtle lighting scheme was introduced into the plans.
The planting brief was for different shades of green and texture to provide year round interest while keeping the maintenance as low as possible.
Square Garden Design decided to widen the steps and centre them in front of the bedroom French window to open up the space, make it look bigger as well as less enclosed.
The client went for the extremely dense Ipe timber which is referred to as “ironwood” for the decking. Ipe is arguably the toughest available hardwood for the production of garden decking and is also one of the most attractive on the market given its grain swirl and highly sought after colour.
To keep the budget as low as possible, the IPE decking was laid above the existing stone slabs, using aluminium subframes fixed to pedestals above the existing patio.
The Ipe panel above the storage area was designed to look as seamless as possible. Struts fixed on either sides of the panels make them very easy to lift and to close back down. From now on, no effort is needed to access the storage boxes under the decking. The client seems to be using this available space more than before.
Retaining walls and risers of steps at the lower level are cladded with large format porcelain tiles in a bronze finish creating a dark backdrop to the planting in front.
Highlighting different parts of the garden with uplights brought depth to the garden when viewed from the kitchen above.
The forms, leaf shapes and depths of greens contrast well with the natural tone of the IPE decking. Dense planting bring a sense of abundance to the space and the great variety of plants bring interest all year round. Large showy white flower heads of the Hydrangea Annabelle lighten the space in the summer while the Japanese maples steal the show in autumn with their orange and red foliage.
Clump forming bamboos provide height and screen the boundary wall with the neighbour all year round.
Scandinavian inspired sofa and chairs complement the indoor furniture and create a lightweight appearance in the garden.
The whole giving the garden a refined and cosy atmosphere where the client can relax and entertain with friends.