Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Garden to Please Us All; It Is Tricky Creating a Garden for a Couple with Four Children. A Big Lawn Was Top of the Wish List

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Garden to Please Us All; It Is Tricky Creating a Garden for a Couple with Four Children. A Big Lawn Was Top of the Wish List

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

CAN you mix contemporary with traditional in a town garden, and make it work? Design team Ana Sanchez and Lucy Willcox proved it can be successful, but you need to be subtle, and pay attention to the small details as well as the big gestures.

"With their garden in Stockwell, the clients presented us with a gift: old brick walls, a magnificent aged mulberry tree and a fine marble bust of the Edwardian socialite Daisy, Countess of Warwick, a previous owner," says Sanchez. "Together, they create a very special, historical atmosphere. The challenge was to bring modernity into the old soul of the garden."

A good start was to reference the redesign's site lines from the proportions of the back of the Georgian house, and to use them as baselines to create different areas. "The owners have four children aged from eight to 16 and all of them, including their parents Annabelle and Ben, are very active and outdoorsy," says Willcox. "They wanted enough grass to be able to play badminton, cricket and football, so a substantial lawn was essential."

The lawn is bordered with honed York stone that gives a crisp, smooth finish and is also used for the terrace directly behind the house.

Further down the garden is a dining area with a difference. The clients wanted a dining space in permanent shade, and the designers put it towards the rear of the garden, "because a journey through a garden is rather nice," says Willcox. Instead of a predictable pergola, the pair bought in roof-trained hornbeam trees which make a not-too-dense leafy canopy. To delineate the dining area -- and make a ground for petanque, another of the family's popular games -- they used Cedec, a kind of compacted footpath gravel.

At the back of the garden is a bespoke cedarwood covered seating area that is a roomy take on a more traditional pavilion. Built-in benches run right around its three walls, making it a great gathering space for the children and their friends. "Everybody wanted a firepit so they could sit outside on a mild winter's day, increasing the use of the garden. On top of the arbour is a roll-out green roof of sedums, which needs no maintenance," says Willcox. …

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