This sleek, contemporary garden, given a ‘Highly Commended’ award within the £30,000-£60,000 category at the 2011 APL Awards, demonstrates an excellent manipulation of narrow space, giving the illusion of width. The garden is only 6.8 m wide and 34 m long – a long, narrow space. The client wanted a multi-functional outdoor environment for both adults and children addressing needs for entertainment, cooking, dining, lounging and play while offering a gainful solution to the problem of their boxer dog’s habit of bringing mud into the house’s white flooring. The design likewise had to reflect the newly refurbished contemporary interiors.
Altering the eye’s focus from the long and narrow became the main challenge of the project while working within client specifications, such as installing lighting and heating for evening entertainment and retaining the play area for their newborn daughter but making it safe, clean and shifting attention from the space as the main garden view from the house.
The garden space was divided into three distinct areas formed a seamless whole. Huge planting blocks served as area markers while affording views through the garden.
The new terrace adjacent to the house utilised pale stone reflecting the pale interior flooring that looked out into the garden. The terrace is divided by a horizontal line of basalt paving, which then is directed vertically up the sculptural fireplace. This technique creates a widening effect for the garden at the same time niftily lifting the heaviness of a pure stone surface by dividing it into discrete parts.
The centre of the garden was transformed into a lawn area for sunbathing. Another widening band of black basalt chippings is positioned at the rear of the garden. From this area, another path of the same material leads to the third section, the play area, which features the children’s playhouse, swing and slide, and dressed up with ornamental planting and a new herb garden. A practical solution to the dog problem is offered by the high-end artificial lawn, which can be used even after heavy downpours.