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Here I'll be telling you what I've been up to, whether it s a new design, community project or just things I've seen that I like.

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By Sarah Kay, May 15 2018 09:05PM

I've been working on a design over the last few weeks for a long and narrow West facing garden in Mile End.

Currently the garden comprises a raised softwood deck which is too close to the bi folding doors to the living room/kitchen. The deck leads to a small neglected lawn with damaged raised beds to either side and a large lean to garden building across the back. There are 3 mature fruit trees, a large Cherry , a plum tree and a small quince.

My client would like a garden which feels connected to the house, that they can dine, entertain and relax in and in which their 5 year old son can play. The garden is in the Tower Hamlets cemetary conservation area is a quiet and peaceful space, despite it's proximity to busy roads.

My design solution seeks to create a space which draws on the existing architecture and surroundings as inspiration as well as working with the topography of the garden to create a usuable terraced family garden which blends with it's surroundings.

The bi folding doors will open onto a Raj Green sandstone patio, large enough for 6 people to dine. Two flower beds will be opened to the left hand side for climber to scramble up the fencing. New vertical hit and miss fencing will be erected on both boundaries, with a gap left for the exsting Cherry tree (should it remain).

A reclaimed London brick retaining wall and steps lead to the back section of the garden and are flanked by curved flower beds edged using the same bricks. The removal of the Quince tree will allow for a brick path, laid horizontally to accentuate the width of the garden and will lead down the right hand side to a large brick patio at the back. A small pent roof shed and a bench will be sited on the patio to catch the morning sun and will be surrounded by a Virginia Creeper which will adorn the back wall.

An artificial lawn will provide a soft surface for play with the existing Plum tree underplanted with shade loving woodland planting.

The existing Cherry tree will have a crown reduction and will be underplanted with sun loving perennials.

Watch this space for progress on the build.

By Sarah Kay, May 7 2018 07:48PM

Finally the lovely weather has arrived - perfect to spend some time in the garden and get it looking it's best. Here's my top 5 gardening tips for May.

1. Leave foliage on Spring flowering bulbs to die down naturally

This encourages nutrients into the bulbs for great flowers next year.

2. Prune Penstemons

Cut old shoots down to the ground if there is new growth coming through.

3. Prune Early Flowering Clematis

Prune out overcrowded and dead shoots from early flowering Clematis including Armandii, Macropetala and Alpina.

4. Cut back flowered shoots on Choisya

Help ensure a second flush of flowers in the Autumn by cutting back flowering shoots now.

5. Prune Spring flowering shrubs

Prune your Spring flowering shrubs after flowering.

And remember to keep well hydrated and protect yourself from the sun whilst out in the garden this week.

By Sarah Kay, Apr 17 2018 09:08PM

I revisited my design today for a WC1 Japanese Courtyard 3 weeks after completion. Here's how it's looking.

Mature Clematis Armandii and Trachelospernum Jasinoides have been trained across the front and top of the new Cedar pergola with smaller Clematis Rouge cardinal and Fujimusume poised to adorn the front of the pergola with flowers in Summer and Early Autumn.

Nandina Domestica 'Obsessed' are planted in turquoise planters and will provide all year round interest.

The corten steel decorative screen is beginning to rust to a copper colour. My clients are sourcing a small table and chairs for the circular patio and the screen will provide privacy from the main road.

A granite water basin, bamboo water spout and granite kneeling stones make a Japanese inspired water feature which helps mask the traffic sound and brings and tranquility to the garden.

The large curved mirrors provide some interesting views around the garden will be softened over time by the shade planting in front of them.

I will return once the planting has established to take some more photos.