Garden Tour: A Beautiful Walled Garden with a Hidden Seating Spot
A totally overgrown plot has been rescued by elegant planting and a clever layout that works for everyone
So when they called in designer Joanne Bernstein to help them link their new extension to the outside area, she took drastic measures to bring out the beauty of the space. “I cleared almost everything to allow it to become a walled garden again,” she says.
Who lives here? A homeopath and an art historian
Location Belsize Park, north London
Property A white stucco house built in around 1840
Garden dimensions Approx 17m long x 15m wide
Garden designer Joanne Bernstein of Joanne Bernstein Garden Design
When they first contacted Joanne, the owners of this period home were building an extension on the ground floor to accommodate an office and library next to the garage. It meant losing half of their existing terrace, plus they weren’t sure how to link both elements harmoniously to the garden, so they sought professional help.
Joanne was tasked with creating a visual link to unite the two sides of the property, as well as providing access to the garden from three points: the garage, the library, and the first floor balcony on the flat roof above the library.
The couple also asked her to include a lawn where their grandchildren could play, as well as various seating areas with different views.
“The two sets of stairs were a device to connect the two halves,” she says, “so the house as a whole felt unified, rather than two separate entities.”
A large rendered planter separates the steps and brings lush planting close to the house. Joanne also salvaged two plants from the old garden and placed them in pots by the glazed doors – an acer (foreground) and a camellia.
Rather than white, she chose a very pale pink for the walls of this planter and the ones either side, which is then echoed in the delicate purple and pink planting. “The owners love colour and this is a lovely soft pink,” she says. “I have to admit it was the second attempt. The first colour we chose, even though it seemed a beautiful soft pink on the swatch, ended up looking like bubble gum. That was a really good lesson to learn: go even paler than you think. This was the second attempt and it was spot-on.”
Porcelain paving, Ceramiche Caesar. Planter painted in pale pink, Keim Mineral Paints.
To link the terrace to the garden, the architect had proposed stairs that would have obscured some of the view from the library. Joanne suggested an alternative: a staircase fitted into the gap between the extension and the boundary wall. You can see the bottom steps here before they were paved.
The small trees growing against the back wall are espaliered pears, apples and a cherry, trained on wires fixed to the bricks. “The owner really wanted fruit trees,” Joanne says. “Because it’s a north-facing garden, that back wall gets the most sun, so we’re using the heat from the wall to help with the trees.”
The lime trees along this wall are original – some of just a handful of plants that remained when the space was cleared. “They create a wonderful screen to hide the houses on the other side,” Joanne says.
The pompom grasses seen here and in the planters at the front of the lawn are Hakonechloa macra. The tall purple flowers are Verbena bonariensis. “I didn’t actually plant these,” Joanne says. “They self-seeded, possibly from a neighbour’s garden, so they were a happy coincidence.”
She suggested these purple outdoor chairs, which tone beautifully with the planting.
Purple loungers, Fermob.
The restricted palette of pinks, purples and white adds to the elegant feel of the garden. Plants include pink roses, Astrantia, purple geraniums, Thalictrum, blue irises, Campanula, phlox, hydrangeas, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ and ferns, all with a backdrop of hornbeam and yew hedging.
Read more: How to Design a Stunning Blue and Purple Garden.
What do you like about this garden and Joanne’s design? Share your thoughts in the Comments.