A Fresh Courtyard Garden In Paddington With Californian Vibes

When designing a garden in a confined space, owner of Garden Life Richard Unsworth says simplicity is key. ‘Don’t over design,’ he says. ‘Keep the variety of finishes to a minimum and make the planting the main attraction.’ 

This philosophy underpins this garden accompanying a late 1800s terrace in Paddington. ‘Paddington terraces are not huge houses, and the clients wanted to be able to use the outdoor space for entertaining and outdoor dining,’ Richard explains. It was his job to update the outdoor space thoughtfully, and create the illusion of more space. 

This project saw nearly all existing elements removed, with fresh timber cladding, render, paintwork, and new herringbone granite tiles replacing terracotta pavers installed 30 years earlier. The addition of contrasting wide boards on the boundary walls complement the house, while providing the feeling of a larger space. ‘The house interior is white, minimal and pared back, so the garden needed to flow out and reflect this, says Richard. Quercus Gardens were responsible for this construction process. 

Combinations of unusual, contrasting succulents and other drought tolerant plants feature in the planting scheme, providing visual interest and colour year-round. All these elements sit beneath the property’s overhanging frangipani trees, which offer gravitas and a sense of maturity.

Richard’s favourite element of the project is the huge terracotta planter that adds a dramatic element to the space. ‘At night we light the space with a simple yet effective scheme that washes over the flooring and steps and makes a feature of the large pot and frangipani tree,’ he says. 

By updating the existing material palette and planting scheme, Garden Life has created the perfect low maintenance garden space that punches way above its size! 

Click play below to view a short video tour of this project! You can see more Garden Life design projects here. 


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