Manchuria Road

Grow & Play


A familiar scene, a small London Garden that needs to tick a lot of boxes. A place to relax, have lunch or an evening drink. With 2 small children the garden also had to provide space to play, learn and explore. Natural play was the brief where it could be squeezed in. Storage was required for toys and gardening kit and as with most London houses that wall of glass in the kitchen looked out onto the space so it needed to look good all year round with lots of structure and a good lighting design.



The first priority in fulfilling the brief was to look at as many ways as possible that we could keep the children entertained but also make that as attractive as possible. This design really does pack in lots including a mud kitchen, herb garden, espalier fruit trees, water play wall and a willow ‘Den’ that becomes the focal mass in the garden. This is planted with evergreen jasmine that will provide the structure as the willow breaks down over time. Natural hardwood was used to build seating with storage boxes and a coffee table that doubles up as a water tray and sand pit.



By breaking some rules we have been able to give the illusion of more space and incorporate lots of planting and space that would not otherwise have been possible including planting multi-stem flowering ‘Amelanchier’ trees very close to the house. This provides structure and breaks the immediate view into the garden rather than cramming the foliage around all of the edges of the garden. Neutral paint colours and paving were used which give detail and a sense of calm throughout the garden and internal kitchen.