Vincent Villa

A small but perfectly-formed town garden with bespoke pergola in central Dorking

These clients had moved out from London to central Dorking, getting themselves a lovely little garden into the bargain – small for Surrey, but much bigger than they might have had in Wandsworth. As with many of my clients, they had remodelled the house and now wanted the garden to be designed to the same quality. This deceptively large Victorian terraced house had a typically narrow rear garden, which was shaded by surrounding buildings and fences. A gloomy alley with broken paving led from the dining room to the rear terrace, and the ruins of

The Brief

Having tastefully refurbished their new house, the clients turned their eyes to the disappointing garden, which was dominated by a huge double-length concrete garage. As people who liked plants but didn’t want to spend too much time tending them, and who really wanted to enjoy their garden at different times of day, they required seating areas that suited breakfast, lunch and dinner – which, in a garden aligned east-west, means having one seating area close to the house and one further away.

The clients also wanted to brighten up the gloomy alley leading from their dining room to the garden, and wanted a lounge-style seating area protected by shade. Privacy and screening was also very important to them, and in spite of being hemmed in on all sides, this has been achieved through careful use of planting and screening. Lastly, they needed a utility area for bin and log stores, a shed, and an area for potting plants – all screened from the main garden.

The Design

The clients got everything on their wish list – small gardens are not easy and the garden geometry – boundaries, entrances etc. – tend to dictate what happens. Using London Stone Gea paving, we achieved a light, sleek, modern finish, which is used throughout to tie everything together, and brightens up the previously gloomy alley. This is further enhanced by festoon lights, mirrors, and fern planting in window boxes. To the rear of the house, a breakfast patio is perfect for morning coffee surrounded by colourful plants, whilst stepping stones across the lawn prevent muddy footprints when accessing the larger rear patio for lounge and evening use. This is shaded by a beautiful bespoke pergola based on the Southwold Pergola by Harrod Horticultural. Asymmetric beds add interest to the simple rectangular space, and allow for wider borders where screening is required. All of the utility requirements are tucked away at the rear of the garden next to the rear access, and the garden is finished off with a simple but effective lighting scheme giving it a great atmosphere at night-time.




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