Family Gardens From Two Perspectives

Turns out, you can please everyone - in a family garden, that is. Here, two designers take different approaches to the family garden, but with similar results: beautiful, functional areas for socializing and play.

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Gently Rolling

This London family garden boasts a spacious lawn where the children can play and a terrace for family dining and social occasions divided by a snaking dry-stone and log wall and soft planting (image 1).

Landscape architect Kitson and designer Toll say:
"We call this the 'chutes and ladders' garden — the layout is curvilinear, but the detailing is sharp and precise. The garden previously featured a sudden drop in level, but the retaining walls, steps, and planting have softened this."

"Lighting is included within the steps and between the logs in the curving dry-stone and log walls, which give the garden an organic quality."

"The terrace is used for outdoor dining, and there's room on the lawn for games. I like the way the grass oozes around the wall, and the fact that it's transformed into a carpet of daffodils in spring."

Plantings include coral bark Japanese maple (image 2), jolly bee geranium (image 3), purple coneflower (image 4), singleseed hawthorn (image 5)

Other Ingredients

Dry-stone walling (image 1)

Common lavender (image 2)

Feather reed grass (image 3)

Siberian bugloss (image 4)

Corner Piece

An elegant decked terrace for dining adds sophistication to this family garden (image 1), while the pergola at the end of the plot gives the children a play area, complete with swing (image 2). The spaces are divided by olive trees, trimmed to a high canopy, which offer privacy, add height and keep light in the space as it reflects on the silvery foliage.

Designer Mee says:
"This urban garden occupies a corner plot, so it's an unusual shape. My ideas for the design were developed from the house's architecture, and from the interior design and decor. I'm often influenced by the interiors of hotels, restaurants, and bars, which use different materials so well."

"Wide windows look down the length of the garden, and we used clear-stemmed olives to provide privacy without blocking this view. Elsewhere, I like the contrast between the softer planting and the architectural specimens. The client also wanted a terrace outside the French doors to match the floor-level in the house, and I designed a large timber deck to make this link (legally, a paved surface would have to be lower to avoid the damp course)."

Primary planting includes olive trees (image 3) and common boxwood (image 4).

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Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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