A dramatic garden redesign

An overgrown garden has been transformed into a stylish outdoor space with decking, lighting and a feature living wall

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The property

A semi-detached 1930s townhouse in Hove, East Sussex, owned by a couple with grown-up children still living at home. The west-facing garden measures 132 square metres.

The brief

After prioritising the renovation of the house, the family had done little to the outside space. With their home completed, however, they felt ready to tackle the garden, which was completely overgrown. ‘It was more like a jungle when we first saw the garden, which made it difficult to appreciate the size and space we had to work with,’ says Francesa McCready of Langlea Garden Design & Construction.

The couple’s wishlist for their new garden included a series of terraces so that they could enjoy the sun at different times of the day, with the main terrace near the house designed as a large dining and entertaining area. There was also an unsightly garage to one side of the space near the house, and the couple wanted this to be transformed to become a special feature of the new terrace.

How it was achieved

‘The first thing we did was to completely clear the site; all the trees and plants were taken out as their positioning was inhibiting the potential use of space,’ explains Francesca. ‘The couple were keen to include the use of curves, so I took this on board when designing the layout.

‘The top terrace is a spacious dining area leading straight out from the house. The ipe hardwood decking is perfect for the sunny location, plus it’s really comfortable to walk on barefoot. The garage was also transformed into a “visual artwork” – it’s something of a party piece, and gives the owners the wow-factor they were looking for.’

The existing garage structure has been clad in treated timber painted in dark grey, and portholes of various sizes were cut out to reveal climbing plants grown to the rear to form a ‘living wall’. LED strip lighting within the portholes enables the structure to be lit up and it can be programmed to change colours, creating a range of different moods.

A swirl detail of slate paving curves across the upper terrace, down the steps and across the lawn to a curved seating area at the bottom of the garden, which features a slate patio circle. ‘This is more of a retreat area,’ says Francesca. ‘Plus, it acts as an enticing focal point to look out to from the top terrace.’

To improve privacy, new horizontal screening has been added to the top of the existing fence, creating a more modern aesthetic, as well as bamboos planted behind the curved seating and down one side of the upper terrace. Planting throughout the rest of the space includes cordylines and a mix of evergreen and herbaceous plants. ‘There’s a lot of clever lighting throughout, too,’ says Francesca. ‘The feature wall of the dining terrace creates the perfect party space, while the lighting further down the garden is more subtle for a relaxing ambience.’

The costs

A similar project would cost around £35,000 for design, construction, planting and lighting.

The contacts

Garden design and construction Langlea Garden Design & Construction.

Featured image: A garage exterior has been turned into a feature wall with new wood cladding painted in Obsidian by Sadolin Superdec. The living wall portholes circled by LED strip lighting change colour, and the deck is made from ipe hardwood, adding warmth to the space.