Anna Ainscough is a freelance copywriter based in South West London. She has worked in television, film production and for the press, developing scripts and writing features. After a career break, Anna decided to follow her passion and now focusses on writing for design and interiors. She is a regular contributor to The Decorcafe Blog.
m: 07887 570408
a: Based in South West London
A Garden Makeover – From Plan to Planting.
This is a garden that began its life at a workshop run by Sarah Speller, who was wonderful at drawing out ideas and encouraging you to develop them. Development, as it turned out, was a long process, but at long last those initial ideas have been brought to life.
Like many London dwellers, we don’t have a huge amount of outdoor space, but somehow that makes design decisions more important. We haven’t radically changed the layout but from the outset, there were two issues we wanted to address.
Our kitchen – centre of the house and where we spend most time – is overlooked by our neighbours. We needed to create some screening for privacy but we also identified it as an opportunity to design something which would look good all year round.
One idea that made it off my decorcafe mood board and into the garden was a panel which would provide a vibrant splash of colour no matter what the season.
Tom Howard, our garden designer came up with the idea of painting a large sheet of aluminium with Farrow and Ball’s exterior eggshell in this striking shade of orange.
He then planted these three silver birch trees in front, which I think will be especially striking through the winter months. The colour is one we’ve used throughout the ground floor of the house so links the indoors and outdoors and adds warmth.
The second issue was a more practical one. The perimeter fence had been rotting for years and we were living in fear of losing our wheaten terrier through a large hole by the pergola (that bright orange in the before photo above is a temporary board blocking her route!) So we took the opportunity to smarten up with tongue and groove style panels painted in a Farrow and Ball shade. I resisted Tom’s suggestion to paint rather than stain but he won out and the gentle grey has proven a great backdrop for the planting.
The pergola in the sunniest corner of the garden worked well but it was in need of an update. Tom’s strength lies in creating good strong lines with landscaping and the colours here give it a fresher, cleaner look with lovely shadows from both the trees and the overhead struts of the canopy. The raised bed next to it is filled with ferns and foxgloves to create a woodland feel. The hard landscaping was completed with the use of the same limestone we had laid inside to run a path to the seating area and underneath.
As for the planting plan, the two sides of the garden are diagonal reflections of each other and are layered with a combination of dark dramatic blacks and purples (Phormium and Sambucus), zingy greens (Euphorbias and Heuchara) and fresh white and blues (hydrangeas and agapanthus) as a contrast to the warm orange of the back panel.
I had a great time ‘doing’ the garden but the real credit should go to Sarah Speller for her inspiration and helping me to create my garden design and to Tom Howard and his lovely team for further design help and hard labour.
Sarah Speller: 07879 643483
Tom Howard: 07799 206951