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City living


Islington: north-facing, very unusual two-level site

This urban space in North London was a real garden design challenge. The contemporary, airy home is tucked behind a TFL substation.


Long and thin with an extreme level change, this took some thought. Our task was to make a beautiful and practical garden for modern family life.

A 3m-deep well with 3 manhole covers! We disguised the manhole hatches with angled boards and elegant strips of aluminium set in the hardwood surface. The client knows where they are but it just looks like decoration. Dimmable light strips make a real feature. 3D tiles complete a stylish space.

The tall structure in the corner was made to cover phenomenally ugly old piles that we weren't allowed to remove. You don't come across something like these support structures very often. We had to hide them and make sense of the space. The planters have fascias to make them look much deeper, more impact, less weight. There's now a dramatic view into the courtyard from the walkway above.

'I have to say that the result far exceeded my expectations...'


On the upper level, we remodelled the glass balustrade by removing several sections making more space. The wire fence with a gate now allows access to the planter, which links both levels and makes an attractive barrier. 

The drive was paved with porcelain tiles and decorated with soft, moveable lights and large, angular containers on wheels. This makes the whole space completely flexible.

The house itself was a great source of inspiration. Originally there was a sad pebble-pool and waterfall that made the lower level very dank.

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