a brighton garden – case study

The expansive roof terrace on the 7th floor of this art deco building provides an opportunity for valuable urban greening and an office break-out space for employees with ecological enhancements.

the boundaries:

Brighton is in Sussex and very close to the South Downs, and typical to the area two sides of the garden had beautiful old flint walls. For added privacy (and security) we added contemporary cedar slatted trellis to the top of the wall. The trellis also provides an opportunity to add climbers such as Trachelospermum which will help to fill the small space with plants without crowding the space. They also produce plentiful white flowers which are wonderfully scented. We covered the other sides of the garden with a charred black fence to make the green of the plants in front stand out, but also because black would help the boundaries recede into the background and make the small garden seem a little bigger.

landscaping materials:

We paved the garden using Purbeck stone in different forms. Using fewer landscaping materials gives the garden a sense of harmony and calm. Small cobbles in the dining area helped to stretch the space, while large rough hewn stones for the raised beds gave the space a simplicity so that it did not feel cluttered. A cast concrete outdoor kitchen allowed us to create a bespoke cooking area and the colour of the concrete matched the Purbeck stone. To soften the paved areas, strips of mind your own business were planted between the pavers. This also allows for water to drain into the ground when it rains rather than running into the drains, so it’s better for the environment.

the planting:

The seating area was surrounded with tall planting to give a sense of privacy. The Osmanthus aquifolium was the perfect choice for its architectural form, and because its evergreen offers year round privacy – essential for town centre dwelling. Using taller shrubs allowed us to create lush shady planting areas as well as beds for sun loving plants in this South facing garden. Bright sun loving plants were added to the pond that would add seasonal colour and evergreen foliage.


The pond and water spout add peace to the garden with the calming sound of water cancelling out the sound of the town traffic. It catches the sun to create entrancing ripple reflections on the wall, and night lights shone down on the water produce mesmerizing patterns on the walls at night.


In a city garden, it’s essential to make the most of the garden day and night. Here we included atmospheric garden lighting that highlighted the textures of the planting and the walls, while other lights helped to create a romantic warmth. Floodlights on the walls showed off the flint, uplighters on the trees accentuated the architectural form of the branches, while downlighters created a warm glow.

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