No matter how limited we are for space in our city gardens, there is always possibility for transformation. It’s about thinking outside the square in terms of structure, of planting, and how we can create the illusion of more space.
And this confined, enclosed area at the rear of a terrace house in the heart of the CBD is a great example of how thoughtful design and plant selection plays a major part in its renewal.
Floor space is minimal – about 20 m2 – with high boundary walls on all sides. To give the illusion of more space we designed a series of large custom local sandstone slabs to help stretch the area out visually, separating each one with a natural coloured gravel.
In the main planting bed we’ve used a series bespoke cylinder planters at varying heights to give some vertical structure and the cardboard palms (Zamia furfuraceae) add great texture here.
Discreet handmade tiles on the rear wall help to bounce light around and contrast well with all the green foliage.
We are the hugest fans of stag horn ferns; they really are amazing plants that look so prehistoric and are happy clinging onto any vertical structure without any soil. We’ve placed them on the remaining palm trunks at varying heights and they just love this position. Stag horns do need good light and reliable water to grow well. Protect them from hot western sun and they will keep on giving.
In addition, heart shaped philodendron is a perfect ground cover that’s starting to colonise the walls and give a real sense of urban jungle.