Courtyard Garden, East London

The owners of this tiny, shady courtyard on two levels never used it, because it was dangerous and the lower level was inaccessible. They also had a terrace overlooking the garden on the first floor that was falling apart.

The brief was to transform both of these into modern, contemporary spaces that would allow for small-scale entertaining and provide a bit of respite from the busy road outside.

In the main garden, slate pavers and a raised bed link the two levels together, and provide for a sizeable planting area. Steps lead down to a smaller area for barbeques. Glossy, acrylic panels installed between existing brick pillars chime in with the painted, rendered walls and reflect the minimal sunlight back into the space. Lights installed behind the panels cast a soft glow across the garden at night. We kept the roof terrace simple; hardwood deckboards and a bespoke glass balustrade to allow views of the garden. The clients wanted soft, pretty planting to soften the angular lines; long-flowering Astrantia and geranium spill around the feet of a shiny camellia and early-flowering, multistemmed Amelanchier.