Tag Archives: Whetstone

Woodland Garden, Whetstone, North London

Retreat in woodland garden Whetstonr

Retreat in woodland garden, Whetstone

Mature ash, sycamore, oak and holly make a natural setting for this woodland garden. The dappled shade suits many shrubs, bulbs and herbaceous plants. Whether in the heat of summer or darkest winter, the woodland garden provides a lovely family retreat in Whetstone, North London.




Walk in the Woodland Garden – Whetstone

Path to Woodland Garden in Whetstone

Curved path to woodland garden

The woodland garden is on a fairly steep slope with a bank to one side.  An informal curved  path meanders around the garden.  The path broadens to include areas to sit.  We used small Atlantic pebbles for the path surface.  The curved shape is retained with powder coated metal edging.



Shady Meadow

Dappled shade and meadow plants in woodland garden Whetstone

Dappled shade and meadow plants

We used wildflower meadow turf to make the woodland glade. The selection of meadow plants suits dappled shade and includes Meadow Cranesbill, Ragged Robin, Primrose and Ox-eye daisy. Flower interest over a long period includes early violets, the soft yellow of Lady’s Bedstraw and and the vibrant pink of red campion. It is very easy to maintain with a mow once or twice per year.



Trees in the Woodland Garden

Sleeper steps in the woodland walk Whetstone

Sleeper steps in the woodland walk

Magnificent oak, ash and sycamore provide the framework for this woodland garden. We added brightly coloured willows in the wetter and sunnier areas. Silver birches are included in the dry sunny areas and specimen Magnolia and Amelanchier trees add flower interest.




Shade Plants

The areas in deepest shade have ferns: Dryopteris affinis, Blechnum spicant and Polystichum polyblepharum.  In between are pink foxgloves and purple Mourning Widow. Pink Snowberry and evergreen viburnums give shrubby structure. The dry bank is planted with violets, Sweet Woodruff, Epimedium and Pachysandra.  Other carpeting shrubs weave between tree roots.

Damp Sunny Bank in Woodland Garden

Bog garden at edge of woodland garden Whetstone

Yellow globe flowers and Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ on damp sunny bank

This damp bank is the sunniest part of the garden. Bog plants with bright flowers thrive here. These include Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ which has fabulous heart shaped leaves.  Yellow globe flowers, white valerian and rose-coloured iris appear in summer. Different grasses provide structure . Late flowering anemones, Purple Loosestrife and Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ continue a long season of interest.



Victorian Front Gardens – North London

Understated elegance typifies the best Victorian front gardens whether large or small.  Mosaic tiles on a path or porch can be given a contemporary look using greys and blues.  Rope edging or traditional setts along paths and borders are sympathetic to the period and new railings in Victorian style echo days gone by.

Victorian front gardens: dark grey setts, steps and granite planters against mellow yellow Victorian brickworkk

Elegant contrast : dark grey setts, steps and granite planters against mellow yellow brickwork

Victorian Front Gardens – Whetstone

Here the mellow yellow bricks of the large Victorian house are contrasted with greys. The geometry of the bay window is echoed in the border shapes which are edged in basalt setts.  Smart new basalt steps lead to the Victorian tiled porch.  The tile pattern is a twist on a traditional style using shades of grey, black and white.

Victorian front gardens: tiled porch with basalt steps and granite planters

Dark grey basalt steps lead to Victorian tiled porch










Victorian Front Gardens – Stroud Green

Victorian front gardens: rope edging and dove grey pebbles

Victorian rope edging and dove grey pebbles with bespoke grey bin store

In this tiny garden, a lovely blue and grey tiled path leads to the front door.  I designed a neat bin store to fit the space. It blends in perfectly with its grey painted finish. The new Victorian- style railings have contemporary ball finials to add a touch of fun.  The old wall was re-shaped, rendered and painted and finished with stone copings.




All Victorian Front Gardens should have interesting plants as the Victorians were avid plant collectors.  A lollipop stem of flowering privet in a large planter with a small rope-edged border including penstemon and hebe gives evergreen interest in the small garden.  In the larger garden, grander borders include the architectural Aralia elata, winter flowering viburnums, holly and creamy roses. Holly balls on stems in granite planters frame the entrance. Tulipa ‘Claudia’ is a colourful addition in spring with narcissi.

Victorian Tiling, Setts and Pebbles

Victorian front gardens: tiled path in blues, grey and white

Victorian tiled path in blues, grey and white

Reproduction Victorian tiles in a variety of geometric shapes are available from specialist suppliers in a range of colours.  I designed the patterns for expert tilers to lay on prepared bases.  The basalt setts were laid and cut beautifully to curved shapes by experienced landscapers.  The gravel driveway has Scottish Atlantic pebbles over a honeycomb grid for strength. The dove grey pebbles in the small garden tone with the other greys in the garden.



Victorian front gardens: Basalt sett edging and Scottish Atlantic pebbles

Basalt sett edging detail and Scottish Atlantic pebbles

Porcelain Terrace and Sunken Steps

Pale grey exterior tiles make a stunning porcelain terrace and sunken steps.  They work beautifully to set –off this lovely Victorian house. The elegant steps lead down to the lower patio which benefits from late afternoon sun.

Sunken porcelain steps

Sunken steps, tiled in pale grey porcelain.

Porcelain Terrace and Sunken Steps – Whetstone

Replacing a sheer rockery edge with steep steps down to a flat terraced area, this design uses gentle slopes and banked borders instead.  The new terrace is spacious with a barbecue and dining area. The steps are sunken into the lawn and are almost concealed by it.  The low step heights make them an easy path to the lower patio.  The rolling lawn also provides a place to play.

Large terrace with pale grey porcelain tiles

Porcelain tiled terrace with dining and barbecue area


Sunny free-draining banks are perfect for long stemmed Lavendula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ and purple salvias.  In late spring, the star of the show is a pale yellow daisy – Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandaise’.  Sun-loving evergreen hebes provide year-round structure.  Grasses, herbs and pale yellow roses complement the scheme.

Porcelain sunken steps with pale yellow daisies

Pale yellow daises in bloom either side of the sunken steps


Porcelain tiles match those in the kitchen area to give a seamless experience between inside and out.  Exterior tiles have an embossed surface to provide a good grip for walking.  Careful preparation of the base for the tiles is essential as are the right falls to avoid water collection.  Porcelain is impermeable and stainproof.  Maintenance is simple, needing only a wash with soapy water or a hose.  The sunken steps are paved in the same tiles to complete the elegant design.

Elegant, porcelain tiled steps, sunken into lawn

Elegant, porcelain tiled steps, sunken into lawn