The Villa Garden

A plant focused garden in Highgate that envelopes you in greenery on every level.

Overall view of The Villa rear garden, corten steel is the protagonist material that ties up all the different garden areas to achieve a sense of continuity through the entire space.
Overall view of The Villa rear garden
Stage 1

The Brief

This project was built at the start of the Pandemic, and is a testament to all involved managing a safe working environment. It was a complex build, as we were reclaiming land given over to unimaginative paved spaces, and additionally had 4 roof terraces, a basement terrace and front garden to design. The intention was to create a space that surrounded you in planting where ever you were outside, and to soften the hard red tiled building.

Stage 2

Design and Build

There were 2 Landscape teams involved due to the complexity of the build. A large amount of concrete had to be dug up to bring the garden closer to the house and allow for free draining planting beds. Some existing retaining walls were kept, to keep costs down, painted and covered with planting so that they disappeared into the background. A beautiful living wall was installed by Tapestry Vertical Gardens to soften the rear façade of the house. Corten steel, slate and hardwood timber formed the principal materials in the garden. Towards the rear we created a secret Corten Gazebo, with firepit, for the teenagers to hang out in the evening, although it’s also a great spot for a morning ‘cuppa’, again totally enveloped in planting, with a more woodland feel, and an oak boardwalk to transport you above the plants.

The kitchen area opens directly out onto the slate patio, enveloped in lush green planting, with pops of corten steel to draw the eye through the garden.
The kitchen area opens directly out onto the slate patio
Soft herbaceous planting surrounds the lower dining area.
Soft herbaceous planting surrounds the lower dining area
Stage 3

Finished Project

The final result is a plant focused garden, full of seasonal interest, tumbling and softening edges, and providing a delightful backdrop for the family home. Everywhere you look there are wonderful colours, textures, flowers, evergreens, bulbs, birds and bees buzzing around. The Swedish family were a joy to work with, and supported our vision throughout, they have invested in a great gardener, Katie, an essential requirement, who keeps the garden looking so beautiful.

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Stunning view of the patio showing wide corten steel stairs connecting the patio area to the raised planting area. A second corten steel staircase connects the patio to the basement terrace of the property.
The Villa dining area, the patio is tiled with dark slate creating a lovely contrast with the rusty finish of the corten steel used to build the steps and planting beds.
The bespoke corten steel steps lead to the garden through layers of cascading plants.
3D model showing the patio design before its construction.
The grey limestone chipping of the gravel emphasise the rusty tones of the beautiful laser cut panel.
The gentle palette of plants spill over the gravel path and corten risers softening the straight lines of The Villa rear garden.
The grey limestone chipping of the gravel emphasises the rusty tones of the beautiful laser cut panel.
A staggered path through the lawn and planting leads to the hidden ‘Den’; it’s the perfect cozy corner to seat and enjoy the view of the garden while warming up in front of the fire pit.
Gorgeous Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku' starting to turn red matching the rusty finish of corten steel riser.
The built-in boardwalk seems to be floating above the foliage; Betula jacquemontii 'Doorenbos' single stem trees with layers of shady underplanting create a peaceful woodland corner at the end of the garden.
The rear boundary fence is strategically dark painted to ‘disappear’ among planting making the space visually bigger.
A staggered path through the lawn and planting leads back from the hidden ‘Den’ to the house patio, offset with dwarf mountain pine shrubs.
A staggered path through the lawn and planting leads back from the hidden ‘Den’ to the house patio, offset with dwarf mountain pine shrubs.
Charming view of the patio at The Villa, layered planting creates an oasis of lush delicate greens.
A comfortable outdoor furniture on the patio area enveloped in Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' tall grasses.
A more private and sheltered seating spot on the ground floor where you can comfortably surrounded by a gorgeous selection of Atelier Vierkant pots, and the trailing plants from the living wall,
A living green wall covers part of the rear house facade softening its appearance and enveloping the entire property in luscious planting.
A living green wall covers part of the rear house facade softening its appearance and enveloping the entire property in luscious planting.
A corten steel detailing around the window frame to conceal the edge of the living wall.
The first floor terrace at The Villa it’s the perfect sunny spot to rest comfortably and contemplate the charming rear garden.
A staggered path through the lawn and planting leads to the hidden ‘Den’; it’s the perfect cozy corner to seat and enjoy the view of the garden while warming up in front of the fire pit.
When night comes and the lights are turned on the focal corten steel panel becomes a strong feature from the patio.
Stepping stones are lit up to ensure a safe and enchanting walk through the garden at night.
At dusk pleached Parrotia and Cotoneaster cornubia trees are lit up with a warm white LED to create a subtle and elegant atmosphere around the dining patio area.
Nightime shot to appreciated this layered planting; the soft light amongst herbaceous and trees gives the garden more depth.
Soft herbaceous planting surrounds the lower dining area beautifully lit up at dusk.
Subtle intervention in the front garden, using corten steel, slate and repainting the existing walls; gorgeous Atelier Vierkant pots planted with Amelanchier and Sorbus trees frame the front entrance access.
A bespoke corten steel sign at the front entrance to tie in all the corten steel details at The Villa.
Overall view of The Villa rear garden before and after design and construction; corten steel is the protagonist material that ties up all the different garden areas to achieve a sense of continuity through the entire space.
The Villa rear garden before its transformation.
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Photos by Marianne Majerus