Small spaces in SW7

South Kensington, SW7: east and west facing, small roof terraces, lots of sky.

The brief was to put some finishing touches to a newly completed, central London mews conversion, intended as a rental property.

We had a long narrow terrace along the front of the roof and a tiny secluded space at the back. Easy-care plants were chosen to fill awkward spaces and to withstand the neglect likely to befall them as tenants come and go.

Using shiny black planters to complement the architecture, a simple palette of greens and dark red combines airy Stipa tenuissima and Cosmos atrosanguineus (chocolate Cosmos) to bring lots of movement to the 3rd floor roof terrace, along with sturdy pompoms of Sempervivum which will flower freely in the summer.

A large black-stemmed Phyllostachys nigra offers some drama and height to the back terrace, without taking up much space.