Small Back Garden, Leith

This outdoor space in Leith had been a bit neglected in recent times and required some serious TLC to turn it into a garden the clients could enjoy!  The brief was to create a tranquil, low maintenance garden with plenty of room for seating.  The clients wanted to be able to reap the benefits of sitting outside in the sunshine, in peaceful surroundings but wanted a space that wouldn’t take too much looking after.  The compact site was bounded on all sides by high walls and fences.  This had the advantage of making the garden very sheltered from the wind, however it presented a challenge in that some areas were in deep shade.  The budget was limited, so the design had to be kept simple so that the clients could construct the garden themselves.

I created two borders adjacent to the boundaries.  These were planted with shade-tolerant shrubs including Aucuba, Skimmia and Sarcococca.  The glossy leaves of these shrubs will brighten the shade and provide year-round foliage interest.  The plants will also provide seasonal highlights in the form of flowers and brightly-coloured berries.  A small Amelanchier tree in one corner provides Spring blossom and Autumn colour and creates a balance of height with the existing gazebo. 

In a sunny spot in the centre of the garden I created a summer border which is filled with perennials and grasses including Geranium, Agastache and Stipa gigantea.  The addition of spring bulbs in this border will lengthen its season of interest.  High-backed timber planters filled with evergreen climbers screen a white-painted brick wall, while climbing Lonicera provides interest in front of an existing solid timber fence.

The remaining area is laid to gravel, which will be low maintenance and provide maximum flexibility, allowing the clients plenty of space to move garden furniture around and enjoy as much sun as possible!