carol whitehead contemporary garden designer and artist
garden designer and artist

gimme some space: an urban kitchen garden

gimme some space: an urban kitchen garden

urban kitchen garden materials used urban kitchen garden space to dineA garden for a young professional couples first home, with only a very tight budget, presented a challenge. With careful design and layout, the space became a more intimate, attractive and practical green space next to the busy inner city railway line.

The first job was to deal with the privacy issue from the train bridge and platform, so in front of the tall industrial palisade fencing three pleached Photinia fraseri shrubs were planted to provide an instant ‘hedge on stilts’. These evergreen shrubs produce a dense screen to tackle issues of privacy and noise and new red spring leaves add a seasonal dynamic. Three small feature trees were strategically placed to deal with angles that were overlooked from the bridge, the species chosen to bring seasonal interest, attract garden birds and insects and not outgrow their space.

A generous deck at the sunny back area of the garden provides a seating and dining area and this spills out onto a lawn, big enough to stretch out on but small enough to keep well maintained. An existing pile of grey block paving bricks were used for a simple clean stack bonded path leading to the deck and functional, butt jointed concrete paving slabs create the initial entrance up into the space. A pond the client had already made from an old bath is surround planted with shade tolerant perennials.

Trained espalier apples, fan trained plums and cordoned soft fruit are planted along the newly trellised party walls to give maximum produce in limited space and the nectar from these plants provide essential food for the declining bee population in the area. Structural shrubs, perennials and climbers planted in the shadier borders, leave space in the sunnier spots for summer produce such as tomatoes and beans.

“I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you for ages to tell you how wonderful my garden is. It’s just what I was hoping it might be, but actually even better than I had imagined. We’ve had loads of barbecues, and friends keep phoning at the weekend to ask if they can pop round to lie in it! It’s beautifully designed without being at all fussy, the large deck means I can have a big table and loads of people to a sit-down dinner, and all the different levels means guests can sit and eat less formally around the place – on the decking, feet on the grass / on the edge of the beds, etc. Thank you so much.” Hazel, Hackney

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