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Kensington pergola garden

By garden designer Emma Plunket. The young couple who purchased this Kensington house sought Emma Plunket’s technical advice and creativity to transform the developer’s uninspiring garden.

The main challenge was to detract from the flats at the rear and improve upon the screening of the high sloping wall.  Viewed from large glazed doors, the garden had to look good all year while being low maintenance.

Emma’s garden design solution was to terrace and plant the back wall, build a contemporary oak pergola, use high quality artificial lawn and a staggered asymmetrical planting layout.  The result is an inward looking yet open garden with an oriental feel especially when the Cherry tree blossoms.  It fits with the modern interiors and looks interesting both from the basement and above.

Kensington pergola garden by garden designer Emma Plunket

Aerial view of staggered layout and new planting in April

Kensington pergola garden by garden designer Emma Plunket

Oak pergola with mirrored strips bounces light on the shady wall, to the left the air con unit is screened behind planting and cedar slats.  Rows of hedging in lightweight containers screen the slope and add depth.

The planting combines formal box balls and clipped Ilex and Berberis hedging (deters intruders), dark purple foliage including Cotinus, with soft traditional plants such as Alcea, Digitalis and more contemporary Allium and Echinacea.  Fruit is trained on the west facing wall as Emma believes even city gardens should be productive.

A sophisticated remotely operated lighting system was installed including a firefly lantern on the pergola and automatic irrigation.

Plant list       

Acer palmatum Seiryu


Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea
Buxus sempervirens
Convolvulus cneorum
Cotinus coggygria Rubrifolius Group
Ilex aquifolium Argentea Marginata   
Ilex aquifolium Handsworth New Silver       
Ilex aquifolium Silver Queen           
Myrtus communis
Nerium oleander
Omphalodes cappadocica Cherry Ingram
Origanum laevigatum Herrenhausen
Rosmarinus prostratus   

Alcea x kitaibela Parkrondel
Anemone Honorine Jobert
Dianthus Eleanor’s Old Irish
Digitalis grandiflora
Echinacea purpurea Maxima
Foeniculum vulgare Purpureum
Gaura lindheimeri Karalee White   
Heuchera micrantha Palace Purple

Climbers and wall shrubs

Akebia quinata
Ceanothus Autumnal Blue
Ceanothus Italian Skies   
Clematis Ken Donson
Hedera helix Little Diamond       
Lonicera japonica Halliana
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Vitis vinifera Purpurea
Wisteria floribunda Alba   

Ficus carica Brown Turkey
Vitis vinifera Fragola


Allium hollandicum Purple Sensation

Emma Plunket