Make a splash in your outside space with these water features.
Introducing a watery element to your outside space offers a sense of tranquillity and instant calm, bringing you that little bit closer to nature – even if you’re in the city’s most densely populated postcode. Proving you don’t need acres of rolling lawn to get creative with H2O, we take a peek into some of the Capital’s most imaginative gardens with water features, focusing less on square footage and more on architectural prowess.
1. House in the Trees
An oasis of calm in the centre of London, this L-shaped new-build property features a series of garden spaces with shrewd, lofty planting designed to obscure neighbouring buildings. Merging the romance of secret gardens with stark, contemporary sass, nothing is over-manicured or obviously landscaped, permitting the great design to shine through. A serene reflective pond with audible bubbling runs through the garden’s various levels in a sequence of cascades, drawing the eye (and inquisitive feet) from the more formal patio space towards the inviting greenery beyond. The dynamic use of water here provides a satisfying ‘flow’ in more ways than one.
Design by Darryl Osada (osadadesign.com), landscaping by O’Keefe Landscapes (okeefelandscapes.co.uk)
© Steven Wooster
2. Notting Hill courtyard
The owners of this commodious new-build home, which was erected within the shell of a Victorian industrial building, wanted a striking centrepiece that felt more like a relaxing garden than a conventional courtyard. Flanked by concrete and glass, it’s only with the inspired use of water that the space really comes to life: bespoke metal planters seem to emerge gracefully from shallow, pebbled pools while the use of stepping stones gives the effect of a floating patio, bringing ancient Zen-like quietude to a hard-edged contemporary setting. And it’s no happy accident that the water reflects the sky, bringing light into the courtyard.
Peter Reader Landscapes (readerlandscapes.com) and Kenham Building Ltd (kenhambuilding.com)
3. Knightsbridge Roof Terrace
Incorporating a fountain into a city roof garden might seem a tall order but the designers of this sky-scraping patch have achieved just that – and won a gold New Homes garden award for Best Roof Terrace in doing so. The space is divided into three key areas, unique in their design but sharing the same vernacular when it comes to materials. The boxy form of the water feature echoes the surrounding industrial planters with its bespoke steel tank, limestone cladding, and galvanised steel water chute – in itself a lesson in ‘less is more’, providing just enough running water to create a relaxing ambience.
4. Basement Jacuzzi Garden
Every square inch of this Hampstead garden is utilised to full effect, such is the success of its astute design. With an integrated hot tub, barbecue and fireplace, water feature, and mini lawn, it is a master class in multi-functionality. As much a lively entertaining yard as it is
a mini Eden to relax in, its clever symmetry and playful use of height ensure a serene sense of light and space. The focal point of the garden is a beautiful stacked stone water wall that brings all elements – both natural and man-made – together with its continual trickling providing a soothing soundtrack.
Designed by Fossey Arora (fosseyarora.com), construction by The Garden Builders (gardenbuilders.co.uk)
© Ben Roberts, Blooming Photography
5. Contemporary patio
The courtyard of this west London pied-à-terre might be a diminutive one but it certainly packs a punch in the style stakes. A colourful living wall and arresting water feature ensure that what it lacks in floor space it more than makes up for by going vertical. Both act as hanging artworks in this al fresco dining room setting, breathing open-air life into its walls whilst toying with formal structures. The specially commissioned water mirror adds movement and texture while ingeniously reflecting natural daylight back into the outdoor room and onto the glass top of the dining table.
Bonham & Bonham London (bonhamandbonham.com)
© Bonham & Bonham