Gardening blog: Sun deck and evergreen palette open up Highgate garden for family fun

Highgate Garden Case Study

Highgate Garden Case Study - 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. Here she talks us through how she turned an inaccessible Highgate garden into an all-purpose family focal point

This is a low maintenance but striking garden that is split over many levels and viewed from a range of downstairs rooms all with floor to ceiling glazing.

The landscaping was designed by architect Maya Vuksa who worked with the clients to choose materials and finishes after which we designed and planted the garden to compliment the scheme.

Our brief was to create a space that made the garden more usable, to look good all year and that the family could entertain in.

The furniture was settled on a decking section immediately outside the house to make it user friendly and was designed with a comfortable seating capability of ten to twelve people.

The garden is south facing so benefits from optimum sunshine but is heavily shaded in places by the overhead tree canopy. Steps were incorporated in a clear area to access a newly installed sun deck in an area of the garden that had previously been an inaccessible grass bank.

The planting consisted of an all season, mainly evergreen palette which erred towards architectural shapes and leafy forms with the addition of some seasonal sparkle. Dicksonia antarctica, Rhododendron and Acer palmatum form a large part of the scheme and are complimented with Buxus hedging and evergreen perennials; Heuchera ‘Rachel’, Bergenia ‘Morgenrote’, and Euphorbia mardnii.

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Simple up lighters were placed under the architectural plants for a dramatic night-time effect.

To find out more about Kate and her work, visit