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Garden Tour: An Outdoor Space Fit for Lounging and Entertaining

Relaxing and socialising is easy in this low-maintenance garden complete with its very own mini retreat

Houzz UK Editorial Staff. I’m a freelance journalist with more than 13 years’ experience… More

When the owners of this property asked Claire Burrage of Clara Bee to redesign their garden, the main thing that dominated the view from the house was a trampoline. As the kids had outgrown the jumping apparatus, it was time to remove it and, as Burrage explains, “create a more grown-up space for entertaining.” The back of the garden now has the ultimate chill-out zone.

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Garden at a Glance
Who lives here A family of five
Location Southwest London
Garden size 19m x 7m (approx)
Property A Victorian terrace
Designer Claire Burrage of Clara Bee

Photos by Clara Bee

The major challenge for Burrage and her team in this London garden was the large lime tree that presides over the rear of the space. “It would drop its sap on the ground below, leaving a tar-like, sticky mess,” she says. “It has a protection order on it, so we couldn’t remove it.”

Burrage got around the problem by constructing a massive pergola with a solid roof that has a sedum bed planted on top of it. “Now when the sap falls, it goes onto the roof and doesn’t affect the garden,” says Burrage. And it doesn’t affect the newly created seating and dining area under the pergola.

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The new chill-out zone at the back of the garden includes more than just a seating and dining area. Below the wooden awning is also a barbecue space with built-in storage for bikes behind it. There’s also a beautiful water feature made of split-face slate tiling. “It’s quite rustic and raw,” says Burrage. “And instead of going down a flat panel, the water falls over rivets so you can see the droplets clearer.”

Mahogany was used to make the awning. It has an warm tone, but will gradually take on a greyer hue as it ages.

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The flooring in the chill-out zone continues further down the garden to form a frame around the lawn. The spot here, in front of the seating area, but away from the roof, is ideal for a fire pit in the evening.

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The owners wanted a low-maintenance garden, so the planting is easy to look after. “Most of the planting is evergreen,” says Burrage. “There’s a mix of wild, rugged plants that don’t need much attention, and then a combination of shrubs and perennials.” There are also some silver birches at the back of the beds to provide interest and shade.

Burrage also wanted to tie in the planting with the sedum roof on the awning at the back. “When you’re in the house the sedum roof looks stunning, as it reflects the colours that are in the plants – lots of lime greens and purples, and also accents of bright cerise.”

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The 2.2m-high fencing around the garden is a bespoke design made from soft wood. The horizontal slats make for a very modern look.

Outdoor sofa, Indian Ocean. Patio tiles, Linear London.

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The decking was already here, but the contractors built cedar planters either side to frame the entrance to the garden.

To the left is a white bench made of brick and render, which has an upholstered lime-green seat pad on top to match the planting.

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The owners opted for artificial grass to keep the garden low-maintenance. They chose a good quality version to ensure it feels soft underfoot.

Artificial grass, Royal Grass.

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There was no lighting in the garden previously, so Burrage and her team installed a variety of solar-powered sticks in the flowerbeds and along the fencing, as well as LED lights in the roof of the pergola.

What do you think of this garden with its stylish, yet cosy outdoor room? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
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