Family Garden, North London

The clients had a young family and wanted to make the garden accessible for their children to play in, but also wanted a grown-up space where they could entertain friends. The brief was to limit the damage caused by footballs, while retaining a large lawn and accommodating a new storage shed. They also wanted a redesign of the front garden around a mature magnolia tree and large driveway.

In the back garden, we created a sunken play area, with box-ball ‘goalposts’ and a climbing fort, backed with a raised bed of black bamboo to hide the houses behind. The area is screened from the rest of the garden with cedar posts and steel tension wires. We made a child-friendly water feature, a large lawn and a new terrace laid with reclaimed York stone just outside the French windows. The planting is protected with box hedging that mimics the formality of the front garden.

A mature magnolia dominates the front garden, and this is framed with an off-centre parterre, edged with box and filled with textural, airy planting.