Making Space

Hampton, Middlesex: south facing, very narrow.

A long, narrow (2.7m) courtyard at an odd angle to the house was remodelled to give the impression of as much space as possible. Room for plants, entertaining, a shed, more containers to add to some existing ones and a washing line, were all on the wish list. With some careful thought and a few visual tricks, in ‘Tardis’ fashion, we managed to get it all in.

The lovely clients came up with my favourite quote for this year: ‘We like things a bit higgledy-piggledy’. So we set about bringing order in a bit of a higgledy-piggledy way.

The yellow stone patio was cleaned and the rest of the garden completely cleared. Then we lowered and straightened the manhole cover to make everything the same level. This enhances the feeling of space rather than having a step. Green and yellow sandstone setts were used, tying in the wall and existing patio. The horizontal stripes and interlocking pattern makes the garden appear wider and adds texture. 

The zig-zag shape of the raised bed maximises floor space and allows plenty of room for mixed planting and climbers. Its shape makes the garden appear straighter than it is.

The gate was refurbished and moved to the left, a new post to hold the washing line was installed and the wall rebuilt and rendered. We squeezed in a 7’ x 3’ shed (just the right size for 2 bikes and some tools) and painted it a soft green. Moving the gate allows easy access for bikes.

The whole higgledy-piggledy thing was brought together by a casual selection of containers in different styles and festoon lights strung through the Ceanothus hedge on the right. It’s all quite unique.