Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Flash of Brilliance; Chelsea Winner Philip Nash Uses Steel and Glass in a Spectacular Modern Garden

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Flash of Brilliance; Chelsea Winner Philip Nash Uses Steel and Glass in a Spectacular Modern Garden

Article excerpt

GLASS and stainless steel are materials you might admire in a show garden, but would not necessarily choose to landscape your own backyard.

However, in designer Philip Nash's capable hands, they have made a garden that is as sensual as itis contemporary, as inviting as it is architectural. These two materials were the mainstay of his Gold Medal-winning urban garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2004, an exhibit that caught the eye of Chris and Olwen Armitage, who had moved to a newbuild house in Poole the previous year.

In the sheltered garden, just 33ft square, the builders had laid the two rear terraces with standard-issue paving slabs, while the wall at the back of the garden was yellow brick.

Wanting something rather slicker, the couple started by buying some stainless-steel planters and an undulating water feature in the same material.

The best move they made, though, was asking Nash to redesign the space.

Now, the two garden levels have become three. A smooth cedar deck abuts the house and is linked to the next level - a terrace of white Portland stone - by a steel-edged rectangular pool. In the far corner, to catch the last of the evening light, is a small, westfacing deck with cantilevered wood table and seat, to maximise the space.

"Itwas an awkward site, but it would have cost a fortune to change the levels structurally," says Nash. "Instead, we went with them, building the deck over the paving, and just digging a pit to house a Trachycarpus fortunei palm. We made lesssteep steps that are illuminated at night. We kept the low walls on either side of them, rendering them white - along with the garden walls - to provide continuity as well as a great foil for the planting."

The bottom line The Armitages loved the glass bench used in the Chelsea garden - and Nash made the green-toned glass even more of a feature, using it for a square table and right-angled bench as well as a bridge across the pool.

"With small gardens, you put in a few containers, a table and chairs, and you are out of space. Glass appears to float so, visually, it takes up less space. …

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