When it comes to challenges, we frequently come across the issue of how to design for long, narrow gardens in London. Many of the city terraced houses built by the Victorians have a long run of narrow garden behind them. This is great as a space for your children to play or the family dog to run up and down, but from a visual perspective, a long narrow garden with a strip of lawn can be a little uninspiring.
The difficulty is that our eye tends to look for and follow lines, especially ones that are visually dominant such as a long, rectangular lawn, a run of wall or a length of wooden fence. This sort of garden layout will make the garden appear even thinner as the eye quickly travels the length of this visual line and stops at the far end.
The key to creating successful gardens from a narrow space is to break up those ‘long lines’ and stop your eye travelling from one end to the other. If your eye ﬁnds points of interest and focal points on which to linger, then it spends longer pausing and focusing on the near, middle and then the distant features of the garden.
One of our recent projects was to create a stunning contemporary space for clients who inherited a rather unloved and narrow garden space in Hampstead, north London.
As you can see from this photo, the garden was extremely narrow with a steep incline at the far end. It had many classic design issues:
This was almost a textbook example of a classic, narrow garden with no visual interest and nothing to distract from the unappealing structures. Our clients asked us to design a space which had a modern contemporary feel and which would be easy to look after. They wanted a garden which would combine ﬂower beds with areas to sit and in which they could entertain friends and family.
The key to successfully redesigning a long, narrow garden is to break up the lines and create visual interest along the space. In this garden design case study, the wall on the left and the fence on the right were ﬁxed features and so the space in-between had to be used to achieve the design. In the new garden design we created interest by:
Now the eye gradually explores the space, ﬁnding new things to focus on and eventually leading to the new planting of silver birch trees on the upper level. The garden no longer resembles a bowling alley but has become a series of interlinked spaces with visual interest both at the edges and in the centre.
Contact Hampstead Garden Designs and take the ﬁrst step into your beautiful new garden.