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Family garden in a walled Islington courtyard

Busy professional lives had led this Islington courtyard to become gradually overgrown, to the extent it was no longer a pleasure to its owners. The challenge was to make it into an attractive an outdoor room for a young family – whilst contaminated ground issues meant that the existing raised beds had to stay.

I was conscious that the whole environment could feel rather brick-dominated so, once cleared, the high walls were painted a stone colour, and two small trees were pruned and retained, giving a feel of maturity and movement of light and shade to the garden.

Two of the raised beds were clad in green oak, with seating incorporated, with the wood softening the overall effect and introducing an excellent foil for the varied planting.

Tender shrubs in a central London courtyard

Tender shrubs in a central London courtyard

Overgrown

This walled courtyard in Islington had become overgrown, and had lost its attractiveness as a place to relax

Garden clearance

Once the growth had been cleared, the walls could be painted a colour that would enhance plants grown up them

Green oak cladding

The raised beds had to stay, but some were clad in green oak, a sympathetic material for the new planting, to give contrast to the dominant brick

Magnolia soulangeana

The magnolia and crab apple were retained to give scale to the planting and to cast shadows in the revived family space

Semi-tender planting in London

Benches were incorporated in the oak clad beds, and were surrounded by soft 'cushionesque' planting

Sollya heterophylla

Walls give a priceless opportunity for planting choice climbers, here Sollya heterophylla

Solanum rantonetti

Solanum rantonetti is another wall plant chosen for the mild microclimate that gives a long season of interest, without getting over-large

A shaded bed

The end of the garden is in shade, leading to a different selection of plants

Oak-clad raised bed

Oak cladding has transformed what was a rather small raised bed

Tender shrubs in a central London courtyardThis walled courtyard in Islington had become overgrown, and had lost its attractiveness as a place to relaxOnce the growth had been cleared, the walls could be painted a colour that would enhance plants grown up themThe raised beds had to stay, but some were clad in green oak, a sympathetic material for the new planting, to give contrast to the dominant brickThe magnolia and crab apple were retained to give scale to the planting and to cast shadows in the revived family spaceBenches were incorporated in the oak clad beds, and were surrounded by soft 'cushionesque' plantingWalls give a priceless opportunity for planting choice climbers, here Sollya heterophyllaSolanum rantonetti is another wall plant chosen for the mild microclimate that gives a long season of interest, without getting over-largeThe end of the garden is in shade, leading to a different selection of plantsOak cladding has transformed what was a rather small raised bed

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