Breathing new life into a Teddington garden

I’d been looking after N’s garden for a number of years and whilst it was looking ok both N and I agreed it could look a lot better. However, a major house refurbishment took priority and parts of the garden were used as a workshop by the builder. Eventually the work on the house was completed and N and I could focus on the garden.

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This is a north-facing garden with quite a few trees so sunlight was in short supply. The lawn was in a sorry state and the borders needed restocking. The starting point was to remove this very mature weeping birch to allow more light in. It’s not something I was keen to do as I liked the shape and cutting down any tree needs to be considered carefully these days.

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Most of the hard landscaping was fine, it just needed smartening up. Builder Marcin made some slatted trellis to go on top of the fences, both of which were painted black to disappear into the background. He also completely refurbished and painted the existing pergola, cleaned and oiled the deck and refurbished and painted the shed and clad it in the same trellis.

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The lawn was reshaped with sweeping curves to lead the eye round the awkward corners. N wanted to keep the stepping stone path and Marcin had the great idea of putting it in the border rather than in the lawn. The lawn itself was given a lot of tlc with lots of water and feed and regular mowing - no need to rip it out and returf.

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The garden was ready for some new plants - a pleached hornbeam was added to complement the existing ones and a row of pleached crab apples were added as a screen on another boundary. The crab apples will have spring blossom for pollinators and autumn fruits for birds.

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The rest of the planting is a rich palette of purple, dark red, pink and white for the sunny areas and a quieter mix of white and pink for the shady parts. The stand out features here are a couple of elegant tree ferns.

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In the sunniest part of the garden we added a shallow water bowl in corten steel. It’s a magnet for people and wildlife and the reflections change the views of the garden.

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The lighting is nearly complete and an irrigation system has been installed. Of course, since then it’s hardly stopped raining.

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It’s at this point I always want to fast-forward a couple of years to see the planting fill out. But to do that would mean missing out on the pleasure of seeing the garden develop, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Marcin Builder -

Corten water bowl -

Pleached trees -

Perennials -