URBAN FOREST VIBES

  • New build terraced house
  • 32 m2 north-east facing back garden
  • 14 m2 south-west facing front yard
  • Fragrant layered landscape
  • Flowering shaded garden

CLIENT NEEDS

This garden is for a young couple in the Netherlands who have just bought a new build terraced house with a 32 m2 north-east facing back garden and 14m2 south-west facing front garden. They have never had a garden before, nor experience with Permaculture, but they value sustainability and love the idea of a wildlife-friendly and edible garden. With one of them being a writer who gets a lot of inspiration from being out in the forest, they wanted their garden to have that forest vibe. Strong wishes for what should be included were a fragrant landscape with flowers (with an emphasis on lavender) and a wooden mini bridge/platform. Additionally, they greatly enjoy beautiful autumn clours, yet would also like their garden to have a bit of green and life in winter In summer they imagine enjoying the garden while having breakfast in the sun, over a family dinner, or while experimenting with growing some annual vegetables and maintaining a herb garden. 

THE DESIGN

For the final design, I was inspired by the shapes of a meandering river bed. With their back garden having plenty of shade the understory plants of a forest would work terrific. I chose one central Juneberry tree that meets all the wishes of abundant flowers in spring, dramatic colour display in autumn and edible fruit for both them and the birds visiting the garden. An arbour, overgrown with fragrant roses that provide petals and rosehips, and clematis provides a frame for a future swing and vertical growing space for annual beans adding nitrogen and nasturtiums protecting them from pests. It draws the eye along the overgrown path to the dining patio with an espalier apple tree as a backdrop. Planting fragrant climbers such as honeysuckle, kiwi berry, and star jasmine along all the garden barriers create a sense of depth, attract pollinators and provide fruit. A small wildlife pond and bog garden where watermint, meadowsweet and watercress can grow is bridged by a wooden platform leading into raised keyhole bed with perennial brassicas, currants and gooseberries. The ground is covered with shade-loving ferns, hosta’s, creeping dogwood, lungwort and wild garlic providing cover and forage throughout the seasons. 

The front garden is very warm in summer due to the tarmac road near them. A perfect fit for lavender interplanted with heather, borage, hyssop, thistles and globe artichoke creates a purple foraging community that has something to offer in any season. The couple’s favourite white tea can be picked from their camelia Sinensis. A fig tree shades the house and a herb garden from the afternoon sun. The awning above the door will be extended by trellis overgrown with Jasmin for fragrance and tea and a passion fruit. Japanese quinces are trained to grow up the wall providing earlier flowers for pollinators and fruit for jellies in autumn.