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Anemones on path, planting design by Kate CHamberlain Garden Design

This is an example project which illustrates the process of transforming an outdoor space into a garden for a family in Dulwich.



This garden sits at the back of a very large family garden.  It had previously been used as a vegetable plot with raised beds laid out in a geometric pattern.  It is completely shaded for most of the day by a very large oak tree which isn't ideal when trying to grow food. There was very little planting and the vegetable planters were in a bad state. 



The new owners of the property use the garden room as a yoga studio. I wanted the garden to be calm and tranquil to reflect this and it was important to embrace the shade.  I designed the planting to soften the hard lines and shapes created by the existing building and paving.   The idea was to give the garden a real woodland feel and I chose a restrained colour palette of just white and green to make it a very relaxing place to be. 
A little sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle.

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The soil in this garden is heavy clay and it was very waterlogged.  Drainage channels were put in place and larqe quantities of grit and organic matter were incorporated. Fences were fixed and cleaned up, neighbouring invasive bamboo restrained, and the decking and paving were restored to their former selves. We also took the opportunity to put in some very subtle garden lighting which would gently illuminate the new trees and planting. 



I chose betula utilis jacquemontii trees to act as the main height and structure in the garden.  Their beautiful white bark glows on summer evenings and the tree has a gentle softness that works so well with my concept. My clients are not keen gardeners so we also needed plenty of evergreens that would look good all year and require minimal maintenance. Yew balls, pittosporum, sarcococca, libertia grandiflora, evergreen ferns, hellebores fulfil this brief. An abundance of green with different leaf shapes and textures.

Then come the flowers, which arrive in succession through the season, starting with the deliciously delicate white daffodil, narcissus ‘Thalia’ which is planted in large drifts throughout.  Foxgloves, thalictrum, and cenolophium denudatum give height and drama, geraniums fill and spill. The flowers of the low-growing and superb anemone ‘Wild Swan’ bob away all summer long, and little delicate astrantias humbly put on a starry show.  At the end of the season, aster divaricartus is there to keep summer going just that little bit longer.

Softness if brought to the garden as large drifts of gorgeous hackonechloa macra grass spill over the edges throughout, brushing legs and moving beautifully in the breeze. Fences are concealed with climbing hydrangeas and scented evergreen trachelospermum jasminoides. 

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Kate Chamberlain Garden Design



Click here for more images of the end result.  

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