Gardening Blog: A courtyard garden in Hampstead

Hampstead Courtyard Garden designed by Kate Gould

Hampstead Courtyard Garden designed by Kate Gould - Credit: Archant

Kate Gould is an award winning garden designer with more than a decade’s hands-on experience transforming gardens of all sizes and a regular exhibitor at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show where she has been awarded three Gold medals.

The clients had downsized from a very large family home to a much smaller ground floor apartment where much of the living and bedroom space looked directly out onto the garden.

The outside space was nothing like they were used to (which was large and spacious) and had been left in an awful state by the builders with paving coming up and half dead plants.

Kate Gould was called upon to design a garden based upon topiary shapes that was contemporary in design but still gave the impression of a green space even though there was no room for a lawn.

The brief for the scheme was a garden that was primarily to be used for relaxing. It should look good all year round.

The garden is wider rather than deep, rectangular and quite small, so it was requested that something be designed to extend the shorter aspect.

It is situated at ground level but to retain the other land on the site, which slopes considerably, the space is contained by walls over 3m high all the way around.

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The garden is also overlooked by balconies from above making it feel more like a basement space, althouth this was not expressed as an issue by the clients who were installing large automated blinds.

However, the family had come from a garden that they had tended for over twenty years and, although they considered this a chance to try something new, they felt that the orange bricks in the retaining boundary walls were very dominant and they should be minimised most in the scheme. The garden also had to be very low maintenance with only white or blue flowers, if any. Originally a green wall was considered but this was discounted due to budget.

The materials all have a grey/silver theme; stone, concrete coloured pots from Urbis Design, mirror polished stainless steel in the form of reflective panels and a water feature and also brushed stainless steel details to contrast the mirror effect which created a a small arbour to the rear of the water feature.

Mirror polished stainless steel panels were designed and commissioned to bounce light around the space as well as providing a false sense of depth to the garden.

The paving was to compliment the new exterior wooden floor which was a light silver colour. The stone selected was a sawn grey sandstone in 600x600mm slabs with a special order of smaller setts cut from the same stone.

This garden received a ‘Highly Commended’ at the APL awards in 2014.

To find out more about Kate and her work, visit

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