Three terraces, Clerkenwell, EC1

This large, modern house in Clerkenwell, near the City of London, had three large terraces that were unused, but were all-too visible though the floor-to-ceiling windows that surround the property. As it is not their main residence, the clients did not want to use the terraces for entertaining.

Instead, each was designed to be a picture, to be enjoyed from the inside all year round, with space for just a solitary chair in one. The clients are very interested in plants and were willing to be adventurous with them.

Each terrace has a distinct character. The sunnier site is filled with exotics – large, architectural plants with contrasting shapes, leaves and textures and bespoke planters in earthy, desert tones. Black bamboo screens the space from neighbours and smart steel trellising supports the evergreen climber that will eventually cover the wall.

The upper, shady terrace was refitted with soft grey composite decking, and a range of shade-loving ferns, hosta and tree ferns to give a interplay of green foliage and all-year interest.

In the ground floor terraces, the walls were painted and the dividing panel between them removed to bounce light into the space and the create sight lines through the large bedroom windows. Porcelain tiling gives a crisp, contemporary feel and is a foil for the oversized “rusty” containers, planted with three large, cloud-pruned trees.

Watering the plants in containers was going to be an issue, so each planter was fitted with its own individual irrigation. Downlighters wash the spaces in light at night.

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