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Chelsea Roof Garden Courtyard and Terrace

A 9m x 15m unused roof terrace in Chelsea was completely redesigned.

The owners of the apartment are garden lovers and had always wanted an outdoor garden in their London home to relax in, entertain and enjoy their views of the river Thames. The final design of the roof space included an apartment with a kitchen, living area, bathroom, sun terrace and garden courtyard.

Olive Bay roof garden, roof terrace

The garden courtyard was cleverly designed as a roofless room, the white walls were rendered, the floor paved with limestone tiles and the room's windows were hidden with timber cedar blinds. The garden courtyard was designed to be easily converted into an additional room in future by simply adding a roof and increasing the penthouse apartment's worth.

Olive Bay roof garden, roof terrace

Handmade French grey steel planters line the walls of the garden courtyard and surround the seating area with lush planting. Tightly clipped triangle boxes (Buxus sempervirens) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote') form the evergreen structure of this Mediterranean planting scheme. White gaura (Gaura linheimeri) and daylilies (Hemerocallis) arch over the box and lavender to add interest.

An olive tree, under-planted with magenta Cistus Sunset provides the area's focal point. The black wall of the courtyard behind the olive wall has trained figs (Ficus carica), which form the black-drop to oversized agapanthus (Agapanthus umbellatus ovatus). Seasonal planting is added to the scheme throughout the year.

Olive Bay roof garden, roof terrace

A green scented canopy of wisteria and jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is trained over the seating area while a waterproof awning placed above the trailing plants allows our client to enjoy the garden in any weather.

Key plants within the courtyard garden have been up-lit, bronze wall lights were fitted and the planters were lit from underneath to create a warm lighting effect.

Olive Bay roof garden, roof terrace

The courtyard leads to a sun terrace that was decked using hardwood timber. A series of handmade French grey steel containers planted with fountain grasses, bamboo and perennials line the boundary of the sun deck to provide privacy.

Olive Bay roof garden, roof terrace

Planting list

Arbutus unedo
Ficus carica
Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'
Buxus sempervirens
Convolvulus cneorum

Olea europea
Dicksonia antarctica
Agapanthus umbellatus ovatus
Gaura linheimeri
Hemerocallis Red Rum
Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset'

All photos are courtesy of leading garden photographer Clive Nichols