Garden Design – Queens Park London NW6
Designer: Julian Sandell
Queens Park, London, NW6
Abstract Landscapes were recommended to me by a friend, for which I consider myself to have been very lucky, because you don’t find people like Julian and his team very often at all. He threw himself into understanding exactly the type of garden design I hoped to have; as an extension of the modern inside space I’d recently converted. His garden design suggestions came with precise drawings and material references, but also with a very collaborative, open spirit. He urged me to go with things I wasn’t sure about and on all of them he was right. What quickly becomes apparent when you’re working with Julian is that he cares as much about the design succeeding as you do. In fact, he has the sort of attention to detail you’d think only annoying clients would have. Delivering on his word is very important to him, so timing and budget is something you’re confident about, whilst you get to focus on the fun bit as the garden takes shape. I like everything about Julian’s design. There are many spaces, materials and views I enjoy and it’s not that big a garden. But I particularly like the stone paved area up against the house: uncompromising edges, perfectly in proportion, great under the feet and some lovely touches like the hard wood bridge and built-in beds. Now I need to own another garden so I can work with Julian again!
- 45m2 of Arctic Granite Paving
- Iroko footbridge
- Bespoke Iroko fence panel
- 35m2 of new lawn
- 18m2 of softwood decking
- 5m of 6ft high softwood fencing
- 240V Lighting System
The Queens Park Garden Design
The project at Queens Park London NW6, is the garden design that has required the most accurate construction methods, has needed the most attention to all of the details and as a result has ultimately been one of the most fulfilling. The design brief was to create a garden design that would both extend the modern inside space, which had recently been renovated, to the outside, but also to provide a contrasting more informal and natural area at the bottom of this sloping garden.
We decided to use honed and calibrated Arctic Grey granite for the paved area adjacent to the house. This has ultimately given a beautiful contemporary feel to the terrace because of its smooth surface and clean lines, but equally because it has provided a really great colour match for the white interior flooring. Because both the surface and the faces of the terrace were to be covered with the granite and in order to maximise the contemporary feel inherent in the stone, it was vital that we only used whole pieces of stone. This meant that the terrace area had to be calculated to exact units of the granite, and the underlying structure which was constructed from concrete blocks, had to be perfectly square to within a millimetre or two, in order to avoid any cuts.
As a result we had to take particular care and attention when marking the dimensions for the structures, as all of the aspects of construction were inter-related. For example, the Iroko footbridge over the dry valley had been constructed from precise units of board, in order to achieve the level of finish required. If the two sides of the terraces were slightly out of square, we would have to trim one of the boards to make it fit and this would have been unacceptable for the integrity of the design.
The other main challenge was to connect or link the two quite distinct upper and lower areas of the garden. Up by the house it was all straight lines and uncompromising edges to help create the contemporary look, but down under the trees we were looking to achieve a more natural feel. The decking was constructed so that it had quite an abstract profile, a digital curve if you like. The more natural planting was then positioned close to the deck so that the plants cascade over the edges to soften the hard lines, with the existing small tree adding to the effect by coming up through the decking surface.
We linked the terrace to the decking with a pathway made from the granite paving, but rather than running it directly which would have just reinforced the straight lines from the terrace onto the lower area, it was laid to form a dynamic curve or sine wave pattern. This shape created a large curving bed on one side of the pathway and a curved edge to the new lawn. We cut another curved bed out into the lawn under the large pear tree to further reduce the straight geometry inherent in the upper garden.The resulting structure has allowed both areas to flow naturally into each other, with the curves of the lower area providing the links to the straight lines of the upper area through the pathway and visa-versa.
The planting contained within the garden serves to both unify and also define the two distinct areas within the garden. Around the terrace it is all very architectural and structured. Three large black bamboos in cubed planters conceal the side return, which is soon to be closed with a new extension and three Western Himalayan paper bark birches are set into the front edge of the terrace to help define the terrace as both a distinct area and an extension of the interior lounge space. A selection of large Agaves have been set into the dry valley and the gravel garden that flow from it, immediately in front of the terrace.
However, the bamboos, birches and grasses placed between the birches also provide the perfect antidote to the rigidity of the terrace and link to the lower garden. Their tall stems gracefully sway and their delicate leaves gently flutter in the slightest breeze. This movement is further reinforced with the rest of the planting as you move further down the garden, with the large curved beds being brim full with a selection of Phormiums and a sea of Crocosmias from four different species.
With the stainless steel lighting system adding definition and drama to the space and the Iroko footbridge and fence panel providing both further texture to the garden and colour match to the interior furniture, this is a very successful garden design, that both the client and Abstract Landscapes are very proud of.