Farringdon courtyard garden

Project: Residential, Town & Roof Gardens

We’re fascinated by weaving the stories that make a place through our work, and this intimate project is no different.

There are numerous places in England called Farringdon, all meaning ‘fern-covered hill’. Nicholas de Farringdon, whose name is likely to have originated from one of these places, was a prominent citizen who purchased this part of Clerkenwell in 1279. By the 1850s, the whole area was densely populated, with many inhabitants working in precious metals, jewellery, watch-making and allied trades

We loved the idea of a fern-covered hill, and while we couldn’t quite achieve the hill in the space and loading we had available in this courtyard garden –  a ground floor podium space above an underground car park – has a dappled quality, perfect horticultural conditions for a space that luxuriates in ferny foliage

We wanted to reflect the area’s history of metalwork, and so rich bronze dealing appears in the materials palette of the garden. Black mirrors are hung on the walls giving the illusion of extra depth in what is a narrow space.

Higher surrounding apartments meant the space was overlooked, and access to the space was limited. That, and the podium nature of the garden set over the car park with only certain areas that could support soil depths, precluded any traditional trees to screen overlooking. Tree ferns, with their expansive yet filigree, fronding leaves deliver a wonderful and immersive privacy alternative. Planted at varying naturalistic heights, they create the feeling that one has stumbled into a calm and unexpected hidden jewel in the centre of the busy city.

Built and planted by Mark Whyman Landscapes.

In collaboration with AK and Jones on interiors.