A South Kensington Gem

We have already designed a number of much loved gardens for clients in South Kensington, a collection of little gems in London’s museum quarter. With its clean lines and lavish planting, this project is no exception.

A brick wall already enclosed one side of the site, and we installed attractive red cedar fencing to complete the sense of privacy and enclosure. The fence at the garden’s far end screens a useful storage area reached by a door concealed within the structure of the fence.

We mirrored the mellow tone of the garden wall in handmade bricks from Vande Moortel in Belgium, laying them in a herringbone pattern to create a path leading to a terrace at the garden’s far end. We made this terrace into a generous seating area by installing an L-shaped Ethimo sofa. The greys and blues of its upholstery and cushions marry with the colours of Gigi, an Atelier Vierkant pot placed like a punctuation mark at the sofa’s end. Planted with dwarf irises, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and sweet-scented Daphne, Gigi resonates in its turn with the blues of a favourite painting hanging in the kitchen overlooking the garden. Pots by the same maker stand tall behind the sofa, and against the fence in one of the beds. Unplanted, their flowing contours draw the eye like sculptures in the garden. We converted a fifth Atelier Vierkant pot into a simple fountain, to fill the area immediately below the steps from the house with flashes of reflected light and gentle sounds.

We gave a lot of thought to a planting plan that would guarantee colour and scent throughout the year on this north-facing site. Amerlanchier lamarkii is a hard-working tree, and three multistem specimens bring ethereal blossom to the garden in spring, and vivid colour in autumn. We also planted a Clerodendron trichotomum in a pot by the garden door. Its vanilla scented flowers will be followed by showy blue berries in autumn. As it matures, the summer jasmine scrambling over the fences and the wall will grow dense, filling the air with another layer of scent. The beds are packed with a lush medley of perennials, from sweet-scented violets in spring to ghostly Japanese anemones in late summer. Evergreen grasses such as Luzula nivea, and semi-evergreen ferns will ensure that the garden looks lush throughout the winter.

Photography: Alister Thorpe