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Small Modern Garden Design in Essex

Designed by Katrina Kieffer-Wells. The design aimed to provide a low maintenance extension of the fresh and breezy style of the interior of this family home. 

City garden courtyard

The area level with and adjoining the house was paved with light grey sandstone to give enough space for the client to bring their large dining room table out into the garden when they wish to entertain.

View out from inside the dining room
The remainder of the space was floored with softwood decking, raised at one end to combat the slope and unite the garden as a continuous level surface. A slate tile edging separates the sandstone and decked areas.
Features illuminate the garden
An ‘L' shaped flush bed containing 4 box balls and a stainless steel water sphere creates a focal point from the house through the double patio doors.

Seating area

The decked area was enclosed by a softwood timber pergola. This was half-roofed with timber joists onto which blue Perspex panels were fixed. Suspended from the pergola frame is the main feature of the garden – a large, deep, timber swing seat ready for the client to dress with an array of cushions, mattresses and throws.

Art and planters
Aluminium chain curtains hang down either side of the pergola structure to add definition and help to create the illusion of ‘a room in the garden’, a theme re-enforced by three globe lights hanging from the pergola cross beam. Along the left side of the back wall three 90cm high illuminated planters featuring box balls add day- and night-time interest to the space.
Planting contrast between ornamental grass and Heuchera


This was mirrored on the right side of the back boundary with three non-illuminated white fibreglass planters. The left hand planters were framed by three 3 outdoor canvas fixed to the wall (200cm x 40cm), whilst the right hand planters benefit from a backdrop of backlit blue Perspex panels.

Plant List 
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Clematis 'Alba Luxurians'
Fatsia japonica
Lonicera japonica 'Halliana'
Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris
Astelia banksii
Jasminum officinale 'Fiona Sunrise'
Helictotrichon sempervirens
Heuchera 'Obsidian'
Heuchera 'Lime Rickey'


Photos by Marcus Harpur

Designed by Katrina Kieffer

Other gardens by this designer