Edgy Woodland Wonderland in Autumn, South London, UK

We turned a simple patch of grass, enclosed by a standard garden fence on three sides, into a truly captivating and distinctive outdoor space that delights the senses all year round. Our client came to us specifically, seeking our artistic flair to create an imaginative, one-of-a-kind garden.

Despite the relatively compact size of the space, our goal was to create a garden that offered more than just a visual experience from a stationary viewpoint. We wanted to create an explorative journey as one walked through, with hidden surprises and elements that demand curiosity. One of the ways we achieved this, was through strategically integrating plants with distinct seasonal attributes, orchestrating a seamless display where different species take centerstage at different times of the year. This dynamic interplay creates a captivating symphony that echos nature’s ever-evolving rhythms.

Strategically positioned in the landscape are 3 Ginkgos, 3 Cherries, and 3 Pine trees to filter the light and create the canopy effect found in woodlands. Leveraging the Cherries’ vibrant spring blossoms and fiery red-orange autumn leaves, alongside the Ginkgo’s radiant yellow foliage and berries during fall, we integrated a seamless natural progression of colours and textures. This deliberate arrangement ensures sustained intrigue in the garden, consistently surprising onlookers and engaging their senses.

The striking hues of the autumn leaves gave us an opportunity to incorporate a special design element. We carefully selected pots that complement the yellow tones of the Ginkos, enhancing the seasonal spectacle. This display remains visible for only a short period each year, contributing to a garden brimming with continual surprises.

Rather than relying on a single focal point, we designed three off-centered feature walls to create dynamism and avoid rigidity in the garden’s layout. Ranging from 3 to 4 meters in length and 2.2 to 2.5 meters in height, these walls started at different levels, further enhancing the sense of movement. Our bespoke tiles, available in two different sizes and three thicknesses, were used to clad these walls, allowing for intriguing interplay of light and shadows. The incorporation of green details in the tiles subtly echo the natural foliage, while the overall dark tones of the tiles provide a bold and contrasting canvas for showcasing plants in every season. In summer, this contrast accentuates the lushness of the planting, while in autumn, it emphasises the vibrant yellows of the Ginkgo leaves. This interaction produces a vivid and dynamic aesthetic, fostering a captivating visual interplay that highlights the garden’s enchanting seasonal transformations.

Our bespoke tiles weren’t confined to the walls but extended onto the ground, strategically positioned closer to the metal edge and gently spreading into the garden. This intentional arrangement generated a captivating visual flow, guiding observers through the space. The gaps between the tiles were meticulously filled with slate, resulting in a seamless and cohesive composition.

In summary, the garden design was transformed from a once bare patch of lawn into an immersive and explorative space. The interplay of trees, feature walls, bespoke tiles, undulating ground, and carefully selected plantings creates a visually engaging and unique outdoor experience that evolves with each passing season.

Photography: Richard Bloom

Landscape construction: Shoots and Leaves