Inspirational Australian-style backyard in London with an eat-in kitchen


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  • This city garden has been completely redesigned by the Australian owner, who lives here with her husband and two daughters. The couple bought their home in South London in 2014. The 288 m² garden has a terrace and seating at one end, an outdoor kitchen under a pergola and a lounge area with a fireplace and a large lawn with border at the other.

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

    “My husband kept saying,“ It’s not Australia; we don’t have the weather for indoor-outdoor life. ”But in summer we have breakfast on the terrace and then retire under the pergola in the afternoon when it gets hot. And when it’s a cool evening, we stoke the fireplace. “It really is a piece of Oz in south London.”

    Australian style garden remodeling

    Photo credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

    When the couple moved in, the garden had shabby shrubs and an outdated terrace. “I wanted a large pergola and a grill for entertainment,” explains the owner. She hired garden designer Shelley Hugh-Jones ( to bring her antipodal vision to life, complete with lush foliage and ferns to remind her of her home.

    “Shelley helped with cost-cutting gardening ideas like buying young instead of full-grown plants and using expensive picket fences only where they were displayed and then using cheaper wooden panels behind hedges,” says the owner.

    Blurring the lines

    View of a modern garden through folding doors

    Photo credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

    The garden is an extension of the interior, so it has “walls” and “floors”, with the concrete floor flowing seamlessly from the kitchen to the terrace. Full-length folding doors open to the garden and connect the indoor and outdoor areas.

    The couple used the same concrete floor inside and outside for a seamless outdoor living idea. A glass balustrade on the right-hand side neatly shields the steps to the basement.

    Stylish outdoor seating area

    Built-in ideas for outdoor seating and ideas for a fire pit

    Photo credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

    The fireplace and its seating are made of plastered brickwork, while the pergola forms a “dining room” with a pendant light. “The lighting in the garden makes it usable at all times,” says the owner of the Ggarden lighting idea.

    Soft sheepskins on the wooden benches bring a touch of Danish hygge cosiness to the fireplace area and make it a cozy place to linger

    Structured planting

    Ideas for small urban gardens

    Photo credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

    The plant selection is designed to provide a low maintenance structure as well as seasonal interest. Japanese banana plant – Musa acuminate ‘Basjoo’ makes an excellent dynamic stand-alone plant. Wood ferns (deciduous dryopteris) are ideal 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 a more structured garden landscape.

    Go up a flight of stairs

    Ideas for gray stepped planters for gardens

    Photo credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

    Well thought-out, clever details are what enhance the design of this garden design idea. Like the trough planters that line the stairs down to the basement. The plants will eventually grow into a striking green slope, an imaginative idea for a sloping garden.

    Outdoor dining

    Outdoor dining ideas

    Photo credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole

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

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