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The Barley Garden

Designed by James Brunton-Smith. This is a relatively small urban garden, typical of many London gardens it is very much longer than it is wide.

The Barley Garden in London by garden designer James Brunton-Smith

The garden backs onto a busy train line which can be rather noisy, other than that it is very secluded and a peaceful escape from the business of city life for this young working family. The idea was to create a modern garden space that used a very relaxed, colourful and cottage like planting palette to evoke a sense of wildness. As a young family, there was a desire to keep maintenance to a minimum and also to allow plenty of space for the children to play in safety and comfort. Like many young people today there is a trend to grow some vegetables and fruit, therefore I designed the garden to incorporate a reasonable sized kitchen garden that is positioned to the rear, hidden by raised beds the veg garden is also close to the new shed.

The Barley Garden in London by garden designer James Brunton-Smith

Sweeping herbaceous plantings are in their first year, relaxed and flowing is a description I would use to describe the predominance of grasses and tail transparent perennials. Acting like ‘net curtains’ the arching Verbena bonariensis create a wonderful backstop to the verdant green lawn. The left hand and rear of the garden is in shade for much of the day and therefore planting has been chosen to reflect this, contrasting the very sunny main terrace it gives the garden a superb variety.

The Barley Garden in London by garden designer James Brunton-Smith

The client was keen to have as much colour as possible in the planting, reminiscent of a more haphazard cottage style and not shy of bold contrast. I have used vibrant Heleniums and Peony, Salvia and Rudbeckia within the grass matrix to make the scheme ‘pop’.

The Barley Garden in London by garden designer James Brunton-Smith

Plant list

Astrantia major 'Ruby Wedding'
Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'
Perovskia 'Blue Spire'
Hylotelephium 'Matrona'
Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'
Anemanthele lessoniana
Echinacea paradoxa 'Yellow Mellow'
Hakonechloa macra 'Naomi'
Designed by James Brunton-Smith