Woodland Playground

Richmond Hill, TW10: southeast facing, 34m long, on a slope.

This garden was in two halves, a lawn closer to the house with overgrown woodland at the back. We were commissioned after 5 large trees had been removed from the far end.

The brief was to renovate the back of the garden where an old kiln had been demolished and the trees allowed to get congested. We created a space that is family oriented, with a safe play space for the children.

A large platform was built using easy to maintain composite decking, fitted with concealed fixings. Then added a smart, brushed steel balustrade. A bespoke summerhouse with a shed provides a snug hideaway for the whole family to use and makes the far end of the garden a destination instead of wasted space.

The deck levels out the slight slope and has two solid steps built from sleepers, on the right. Underneath was blocked as far as possible to discourage the local foxes from moving in again and the slight overhang at the front was underplanted with evergreen ferns; a lovely contrast to the dark deck colour. We also planted a hornbeam hedge along the back.

Play bark was laid over a large ‘running around’ area in front of the deck, which gives the space a woodland feel. Then we planted woodland style beds of Acer, Cercis, Crinodendron and lots of Azalea, among others, gradually blending into Geraniums, Peonies and Roses as the garden gets more sun.

The build was a tough one; we found a lot of broken asbestos roofing buried in the ground where the kiln had been. This, along with half a ton of contaminated soil was cleared, bagged and disposed of responsibly. Much of where the flowerbeds were made had brick patio 10cm below the ground, this was all dug out and the soil rejuvenated.

With a clear site, we built the deck on the foundations of the kiln at the back and strong posts at the front. The summerhouse arrived and was painted a soft blue/green that looks contemporary and blends into the garden. We had the remaining old Ash and Pear trees wrapped in 100m of warm-white fairy lights, a lovely magical finish to the design, and a beautiful way to light up the back of a very long garden.