Perpetual blooms | A small London courtyard’s endless charm

Landscape design by Stefano Marinaz, Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture.

This contemporary backyard, tucked away in the London borough of Chelsea, is home to plants that flower year-round, adding shades of blue, white and green to the otherwise sleek mono-chromatic scheme of the outdoor area.

To offset the garden’s modest dimensions and city surroundings, acclaimed landscape architect, Stefano Marinaz has implemented a split-level design, developing a spacious and serene retreat for the homeowners to unwind and escape their urban surroundings.  

The Brief

In typical London fashion, this property offered limited space to work with so the main objective for this project was to utilise and make the most of every inch of the outdoor area.

Another hurdle that comes with living in any bustling city is the lack of privacy with neighbours, often living in close proximity to others. This property was no exception, so creating an enclosed space where clients felt a sense of privacy was another aspect Stefano would pay particular attention to in his plans.

The Transformation

Materials such as sandstone and stone were used in the landscape design, as a connection to the interiors of the home. The purpose was to ‘blur’ the boundaries between indoors and out, creating the sense of one large and open space.

The treated sandstone, to ensure it wasn’t slippery, was used as the paving and steps of the backyard. Stone was utilised in an outdoor bench on the upper level, echoing a similar bench featured inside the house. Not only do these materials compliment the garden visually, but they serve the purpose of creating spaciousness in the environment. Planting of the multi-stem trees, Amelanchier lamarckii (june berry), and underplanting with perennials and evergreen shrubs has added depth to the design, like colour, scent and extra layers to the environment.

To give the homeowners their desired privacy, scented climbers were used to scale the timber trellis, also adding extra plantlife to the area. A yew hedge (Taxus baccata) was planted along the opposing boundary wall, adding to the overall aesthetic as well as providing seclusion.

The Result

Through strategic planting, use of colour and materials, the landscaping at this property has transformed the space into a fantastic spot to entertain, relax and take a break from the busy surroundings of the city of London.

What started as a modest outdoor area has blossomed into a backyard split in two levels, a simple palette of materials and colours, and a garden that looks good year round.

Key Planting List

Trees –
  • Amelanchier lamarckii
Perennials & bulbs –
  • Saxifraga hirsuta
  • Iris sibirica ‘White swirl’
  • Arisaema candidissimum
  • Aster novae-angliae ‘Herbstschnee’
  • Astrantia major ‘Alba’
  • Epimedium ‘Amanogawa’
  • Briza media
  • Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)
  • Leucojum aestivum (Summer snowflake)
  • Cyclamen coum white
Shrubs –
  • Sarcococca humilis
  • Daphne odora
Climbers –
  • Holboellia latifolia
  • Akebia quinata
Landscape design by Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture.

Landscape contractor: Bamboo Landscaping.

Photography by Stefano Marinaz & Alexander James