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Japanese Garden

By Garden Designer Ruth Marshall. This Japanese client wanted a lush, relaxing, and contemporary garden to complement the new interior of the house.

The garden is right next to Dukes Hotel in Kensington. It was a building site following some major renovations and needed a complete revamp. Set on three levels, all small, it was a challenge to make it feel like a single space and to retain some privacy from the hotel windows next door.

Japanese garden 1The middle level has water bubbling from a drilled rock and running forwards in a stream over a polished stainless steel lip creating wonderful reflections and views from the bedrooms on the lower levels.

The planting for this largely shady garden includes: Liriope, Helleborus orientalis, Helleborous niger and up the rear wall Trachelospermum jasminoides (wonderful scent)

Centre to the rear wall Acer palmatum 'Senkaki' (syn Sengo Kaku) which although it does not show well in this photo, you can see better in the photo below, it has bright red bark and is therefore wonderful in a small garden, providing colour all year since it has lovely green leaf in spring and summer, colouring to red in autumn, leaving bare red stems in winter.

Japanese 2

In the photo above you can see the built in seat, a good use of space for a small garden, allowing you to feel engulfed by the planting in the raised beds. The Acer is to the left, then a mix of variegated plants that will tolerate a bit of shade- the variegation lifting the tone from the heavy dark green that can feel oppressive in such settings. Planting here includes: Variegated grasses (Acorus variegata- a marvellous evergreen grass with a perky upright shape) and Variegated castor oil plant (Fatsia variegata)

Japanese garden 3In the photo to the right you can see the upper level with simple Terrazzo planters containing Bamboo (Bambusa metake) this variety is rather invasive so suits containers. The small pots to the rear include a small rhododendron (e.g. Rhododendron 'Blue Peter') and two ferns (e.g. Dryopteris affinis).

Designed by Ruth Marshall

Other gardens by this designer