The Elegant Outdoors, Alexander Square (Courtyard)

This project took us to the heart of London’s museum quarter and a site dominated by a wonderful fig tree. The tree was a big character in a small space, and we decided to take our cue from it, allowing its uncompromisingly asymmetrical position on site to determine the asymmetry of our plan.

The tree already did a good job of shading a corner of the house in summer and screening a view over neighbouring properties. Taking inspiration from the lovely tracery of its bare branches in winter, we designed a wooden trellis. The regular sequence of vertical posts create a backdrop on two sides of the site, while the softer contours of a heavily scented jasmine wall enclose the garden on the other side.

The trellis seems to showcase the tree’s beauty, screening the boundary wall and yet allowing light to enter the garden freely. We placed a series of handsome terracotta pots opposite the fig tree, using them like punctuation points to break up the length of jasmine wall. Other pots are casually placed, accentuating the asymmetry of our design.

We have made flowerbeds in front of the trellis and packed them with a rich selection of evergreens, perennial plants and bulbs to create new combinations of colour and scent in every season. Low seats, a table and a fireplace ensure that this small terrace will be an elegant and comfortable space throughout the year.