Small Gardens Garden Design Islington Designed by Simon Ronan and constructed by The Garden Builders
Small, contemporary garden in Islington, designed by Simon Ronan and constructed by The Garden Builders, creates an inviting outdoor retreat for the family using strong, geometric lines and beautiful planting.

Conceived as a stylish north London outdoor room extending from the house’s bi-folding glass doors, the garden functions as a sophisticated living extension, connecting the interior of the property to the exterior space. The indoor and outdoor schemes seamlessly blend together, with porcelain grey paving from London Stone used for the terrace. The grey paving provides a hint of lightness to the hardscaping.

Hexagon-shaped scoop chairs with colourful cushions, sourced by the client, provide a funky flourish, underscoring the bold, straight lines of the contemporary design. The choice of furniture allows the owners to express their personality and forge stronger connections between people and surroundings. The designer commissioned bespoke cantilevered bench attached to the raised bed wall produces another striking linear effect, with the wooden floating benches complementing the Western Red Cedar trellis in horizontal slatted design.

Flanking the terrace are raised beds and rendered and painted blockwork in the same grey colour scheme. The wooden floating benches follow the L shape of one of the raised beds, creating a striking, modern seating arrangement and an eye-catching decorative element.

The designs’ rigid lines are softened by the surrounding verdant foliage, a robust planting scheme composed of tree ferns, palm trees and shade-tolerant mixed plants. The spreading fronds of the tree ferns create movement within the scheme. The garden is naturally shady due to the existing trees, requiring careful selection of the planting.

Planting gives modern gardens a friendly and inviting atmosphere and connects indoor living with outdoor lifestyle. Lively planting adds warmth to the contemporary design, creating an outdoor canvas of textures and shapes to contrast with the sleekness of the hardscaping materials. Corten steel edging on the planting beds likewise adds warmth to the scheme. Corten steel is a popular landscaping material prized for its earthy tones.

The lawn is laid with artificial grass, which is a low-maintenance, child- and pet-friendly alternative to real grass and is perfect for outdoor spaces too small for a natural lawn. Artificial grass, which does not need watering, can increase energy efficiency in the garden, especially during a drought. It is also the perfect solution for the natural shadiness of this tree-filled garden. The client further provided a personal touch to the garden with the installation of a corten steel sculpture, sourced by the homeowner, at the rear. The three metal planes of varying height added an artful element to the garden’s design and provided a focal point for the rear vista. The sculpture fits in perfectly with the prevailing geometric lines and likewise acts as a good foil to the rear planting.

Small gardens have some distinct advantages over large gardens. Smaller means lesser maintenance, doing away with the kind of commitment needed for sizeable properties. A lesser area to cover also means a bigger budget for splurging and more flexibility to spend on key features. Most small gardens today function as outdoor rooms, a popular theme for several years now and a great way to extend living spaces, especially in urban settings. Doubling as living rooms, dining and entertainment areas or play zones, outdoor rooms bring families together in a relaxing environment.
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