Stock Orchard Street (Straw Bale house, Grand Designs, Series 1 & 3) is a house and associated office in Islington, north London. The garden was originally laid out in a matrix pattern, with lawn interspersed with planting, and some productive growing areas. There were a number of site issues that needed addressing as part of the re design. The building provides a model of sustainable living in an urban setting and uses a number of technologies based around principles of sustainable design, many of which are being introduced in an urban context for the first time. The development of the garden has reflected this, through choices of materials and a large area designated for fruit and vegetable production. The design of the garden is practical and relaxed, with an informal approach to planting selections.
All images © Marianne Majerus
What our client had to say:
“As the owners of a tired London garden, we asked Emma to design a revamp. The garden had a number of issues: dry shaded areas, high walls, noise problems and some existing structures and trees that we wished to retain. We wanted a large portion of the space to be productive. Working within this framework Emma produced a simple and imaginative design that structured the garden into two halves: one consisting of ornamental species suited to the shady area and another, in full sun, consisting of four raised planting beds, bounded by new oak sleepers linked by an arcade of posts and beams in rusting steel.
Between the two areas she located a new terrace for outdoor dining at the foot of the staircase leading from our kitchen. Emma quickly understood the constraints and opportunities of the site and was resourceful in her use of the existing features, incorporating them with ease into the new design. Emma is brilliant with textures and colour, and for our garden she chose species in the spectrum between purple, red, orange and yellow, combining plants of different heights, shapes and character.
Emma planted the shade bed by careful selection of successively flowering perennials, so that, all through the spring and summer, species bloom one after another in a seamless succession of colours and textures. This area, that used to struggle, is now never wanting for interest.
In addition Emma understands how to combine colour and form all through the year. The shady part is now adorned with clipped evergreen Loniceras forming a contrast to the white trunks of the birches that rise through them, and these provide a lively backdrop during the winter months. In summer this area, with its flowers and grasses, is a haven of butterflies, bees and other insects. We found Emma listened carefully to our wishes, assessed the possibilities offered by the existing canvas and was responsive to our concerns, offering a range of suggestions within the overall conceptual framework of the design. Working from concept to detail, she was careful to explain the decision-making process as we progressed, obtaining sign-off at each stage.
She was a pleasure to work with and we are delighted with the redesign.”