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Garden Tour: A City Garden is Transformed By Trellis

Trellis was all that was needed to give this outdoor space year-round charm and privacy

Houzz Contributor. I’m a London-based journalist with years of experience writing… More

Many of us have a bit of trellis in our garden. You might have a section nailed to the top of a fence to add height, or arranged horizontally across a wall for jasmine, ivy and roses to trail over. Chances are you don’t give it a second thought. Well, this London rooftop garden has taken this humble garden staple and turned it into the main event.

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Garden at a Glance
Who lives here A professional couple with children
Location Central London
Property A six-storey townhouse
Design The Garden Trellis Company

The garden, which sits on a flat roof extension, features a square-shaped terrace that was overlooked by surrounding houses. “The aim was to give the couple some more privacy, as well as somewhere to relax,” says project manager James Gee of The Garden Trellis Company.

The brief was to design, build and install all the joinery in the garden (the planting and other elements were left to the gardening company who brought them in).

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The finished garden has a planting scheme that focuses on greenery to provide an evergreen structure. There’s also a smattering of pretty white flowers from classics such as jasmine.

The design included installing wide planters at the base of the trellis (onto an existing low wall). “These allow climbing plants to grow up the sides,” says Gee.

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You might think that trellis is trellis, end of story. Not so – it’s important to choose the right kind in your garden, according to Gee.

“Trellis has a variety of uses,” he says. “It’s typically available in either a square or diamond design and a wide range of sizes, including that of the gaps between the slats. Trellis with smaller apertures (a tighter mesh) is good for adding security and privacy to a fence or wall. A wider, more open gap is useful when growing climbers, as it allows them to wind between the slats.”

In this case, both were important, so a compromise was sought. “We went for a square style with a 48mm gap between the slats – a mix between open and private,” says Gee.

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One of the advantages of trellis is that it can easily be painted any colour. The owners went for grey, which has been finding its way into many of our gardens as well as homes. Here, it switches the feel of wooden trellis away from rustic and cottagey to a more modern feel.

“Grey was chosen as it’s the owners’ favourite colour and seems to be very in right now,” says Gee.

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The planters at the base of the trellis were built and painted to match the trellis. “Each planter has a simple, but effective, moulding design with beading on the front,” says Gee. The result is classic with a period look that matches the houses all around.

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What’s great about trellis is that the lattice design looks pretty even when it’s uncovered – so it can be enjoyed all year round. And it allows light to filter through, unlike standard fencing.

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The view from below: “The terrace had uneven low walls and existing railings, which made accurately levelling the planters onto the walls during installation a challenge,” explains Gee.

The trellis clearly extends higher than the original black metal railings, which adds an extra level of privacy to the terrace.

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The trellis has been fitted in large square panels to avoid too many joins. “These were made from timber using jigs, which allow us to quickly and efficiently make them to the right length and height,” says Gee.

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The terrace is now a cosy, private retreat that doesn’t need too much upkeep. The owners invested in an outdoor sofa and chairs to create the comfy feel of an external living room. An outdoor rug softens the feel of concrete paving underfoot when relaxing with a coffee or glass of wine. Even on chillier days, you could come out here with a blanket and a cup of tea and enjoy the view.

For a similar outdoor sofa, try Maisons du Monde’s Riviera. John Lewis does a selection of outdoor coffee tables and Primrose does outdoor rugs suitable for gardens.

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All the planting in the garden was by Howard Sanderson Gardening.

The scheme mainly sticks to a lovely simple white and green palette, and includes Trachelospermum jasminoides, or star jasmine, which grows up the trellis. The bedding plants with larger white flowers are impatiens (an evergreen perennial).

Using trailing plants helps the scheme feel lush and works with
the trellis design. The smaller trailing white flowers are bacopa (a perennial), while Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus Group is a type of creeping rosemary that offers more coverage and adds a fragrant touch.

There are also buxus hedge cubes to add some structure: their square shape echoes that of the trellis.

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The trellis is made of a knot-free softwood called radiata pine.

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The choice of grey for the garden’s border works well with the stucco and brick of the surrounding buildings.

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The owners have stuck to simple planting, including evergreens such as box hedge and white flowers like impatiens and jasmine.

What do you think of this terrace that can be used all year round? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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