Inspirational Australian fashion backyard with eat-in kitchen in London

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This urban garden has been completely transformed by the Australian owner, who lives here with her husband and two daughters. The couple bought their south London home in 2014. The 288m² garden has a patio and seating area at one end, an outdoor kitchen under a pergola at the other, as well as a lounge area with fire pit and a large lawned area with borders.

“It’s so private and peaceful I forget I’m in the middle of a city. I was in my summer hat when I came up with this garden idea,” says the owner, who moved to London from Sydney 16 years ago.

“My husband kept saying, ‘This isn’t Australia; we don’t have the weather for indoor-outdoor living.” But in the summer we have breakfast on the patio, then retreat under the pergola in the afternoon when it’s hot and there’s a fireplace. ‘It really is a piece of Oz in south London.’

Wooden pergola covering an outdoor seating area

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

When the couple moved in, the garden had shabby shrubs and a dated patio. “I wanted a large pergola and a BBQ for entertaining,” explains the owner. She hired garden designer Shelley Hugh-Jones (shelleyhughjones.co.uk) to bring her antipodean vision to life, complete with lush greenery and ferns to remind her of her home.

“Shelley helped with cost-saving gardening ideas, like buying young plants instead of mature ones and using expensive picket fences only where they’re displayed, and then using cheaper wooden panels behind hedges,” says the owner.

Blurring the boundaries

View of a contemporary garden through double doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The garden is an extension of the interior space, so it has “walls” and “floors,” with the concrete floor flowing seamlessly from the kitchen to the patio. Full-width double doors open onto the garden, connecting the interior and exterior spaces.

The couple have used the same concrete floor inside and out to create a seamless outdoor living idea. A glass balustrade on the right neatly screens the steps leading down to the basement.

Stylish outdoor seating area

Built in outdoor seating ideas and fire pit ideas

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

The fire pit and its seating are constructed of plastered logs, while the pergola creates a “dining room” with pendant light. “Lighting up the garden makes it usable at any time,” says the owner of the garden lighting idea.

Soft sheepskins on the wooden benches bring a touch of Danish hygge coziness to the fire pit area, making it a comfortable place to linger.

Structured planting

Structural planting in the city garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Plant selection is designed to provide low-maintenance structure as well as seasonal interest. Japanese Banana Plant – Musa acuminate ‘Basjoo’ makes an excellent dynamic standalone plant. Wood Ferns (Deciduous Dryopteris) are great for adding texture as a modern hanging basket option.

The graphic round shape of the allium heads makes this a great flower for borders of more structured garden landscapes.

Perking up a flight of stairs

Stone steps leading to a garden with tiered planters

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Thoughtful, clever details enhance the design of this garden landscape idea. Such as the planters that line the stairs to the basement. The plants will eventually grow to form a striking green slope, an imaginative idea for a sloping garden.

Alfresco dining

Wooden pergola covering an outdoor seating and cooking area

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

A wooden pergola and lush greenery enclose the dining/kitchen area. Over time, this area becomes even more private as the couple train Rose and Jasmine to grow up the fences, aided by wires. Simple climbing plant ideas help increase planting by creating a vertical garden that provides privacy to a patio area.

The inviting outdoor area is exactly what the owners wanted. “The only thing I’m missing is a vegetable patch,” she says, “but I’m sure I’ll find a corner for it.”

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