garden designer and artist
carol whitehead contemporary garden designer and artist
garden designer and artist

outward bound: a restful wildlife haven in the city

Early summer borders soften the edges of path - Carol Whitehead garden design
Creating the pathways with cobbled edging - Carol Whitehead garden design
Setting out the plants prior to planting - Carol Whitehead garden design
Newly planted rectangular borders with cobble edging and neat grey path - Carol Whitehead garden design
First year of planting, garden starting to mature - Carol Whitehead garden design
Layered planting with fruit trees, shrubs and perennials - Carol Whitehead garden design
Purple Cercis Forest Pansy, burnt orange Hemerocallis, and magenta Lychnis put on a colourful display - Carol Whitehead garden design
Lush planting of Hemerocallis (day lilies), Tetrapanax and Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy - Carol Whitehead garden design
early summer
planting out
newly planted
first year
layered planting
colourful display
lush planting
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Tetrapanax reaches for the sky in the gardenOriginally an untidy plot with a very unstable rusty stairway access and a decayed concrete landing, blocking light and views from basement windows.

Our first draft design for a more extensive, expensive basement excavation with more generous steps, was reduced due to budget constraints as the new metal stairway took presidence, for access and safety reasons. No matter. Typically designers, builders and architects have to often claw back on the ideal scheme to fit in with client budget, but this presents other challenges to get the space designed well, under tighter budgets.

Local metal engineers were hired to create a new stairway along the property wall so as not to intrude into the space. This improved light levels into the lower patio near the basement windows.

The final design is a relaxed, slightly  ‘out of control ‘ quiet wildlife haven, with a simple layout to navigate and generous central area to dine and exercise in. Granite edging with consolidated granite aggregate infill provides a suitable cost effective surface; understated and a subtle foil for colourful wild planting.

The planting scheme started off aromatic, textural, seasonal and food generating. There is a mix in this garden: crab apples and sorbus trees for wildlife and tropical planting in a difficult shady corner (where lurks a very big surprise!). Planting changes as the client grows with the space, finding her own way with her new garden obsession.

The garden is open to the public for one day a year as part of the National Garden Scheme.

“April 7th and 8th 2008 were two of the happiest days of my life: the days I helped you plant up my new garden. The sun smiled on us then, and I have been smiling back ever since. They say that having a garden is like adding an outside room to your house. True. But it’s so much more: a place of learning, hard graft, anticipation, frustration, occasional sorrow and overwhelming joy. My plants make me laugh, gasp in surprise, gaze in admiration. As we mature together,  we gather new friends and visitors, the birds and wildlife you carefully factored into the planting. My garden is less a destination than a journey, and I’ll always think of you as the one who waved me off on my happy wanderings.” Jane, Stoke Newington

Carol Whitehead © 2020. A registered member of the SGD (Society of Garden Designers).

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