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This wonderfully secluded garden sits in an award-winning complex of purpose built artists’ studios designed in 1966 by Sir Peter Shepheard. Whilst the complex’s communal gardens reflect the architect’s love and incorporation of nature into the living environment, this rear ‘private courtyard’ would formerly have deserved no further mention in an estate agent’s particulars. It required complete and extensive clearance and excavation prior to the build.

In the same way that expansive gardens require vision and discipline to create rolling vistas, interest and focal points, small spaces require a similar valorousness. With the 6m x 4m garden framed from the living room by Shepheard’s signature floor to ceiling windows, Camden Studios was an exercise in how to make a diminutive space create a visual punch and amenity well above its dimensions.

Bold, bespoke and highly individual design elements enable the artistic pedigree of the complex to resonate; ingenious planting and lighting befits the scale, scope and orientation of the plot; the client has achieved a spectacular and usable living space and sculptural garden. These three design imperatives have ensured that the ‘private courtyard’ can at last be said to reflect Shepheard’s aim of truly connecting people to places.

This garden designed my Mark Soanes from Urban Paradise and built by Nordland Landscapes, won Best in Category at the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) Awards 2023.

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