Balcony Terrace Garden

Wivenhoe, Essex

About This Project

The Brief

Create an inviting garden using materials sympathetic to the listed property. The garden should feel secluded and incorporate a seating area for working and dining outside the back doors. Screen the overlooking properties to the rear. Provide a planting area for soft fruit growing. Include as little green as possible in the planting scheme.

Type of property

Grade II listed three story Victorian town house near the waterfront.


Narrow courtyard accessed via a narrow side path and extending around the perimeter of the house. Laid to paving. Due to steeply sloping topography, the rear of the courtyard is one storey above the road below.

Problem areas

This garden was an interesting challenge because of its tight space and awkward angles, imposing neighbouring walls and lack of suitable access for landscaping works. The side of the courtyard was in continual deep shade. The garden was not relaxing due to the pub next door with its frequent deliveries and a busy pub garden below.


Although on first appearance this garden seemed tricky, it was great to have the opportunity to realise its full potential, helped by our client who was open and adventurous in her ideas.

Designed Layout

The limited size of the garden made no allowance for lawn, and so the expanse of hard landscaping was broken up by incorporating planted beds along the entire perimeter of the space. Two large rectangular mirrors were mounted on walls to increase light and give the impression of space and generosity in planting in such a tight area. The rear wall of the courtyard was designed to become the back rest of a full-width stone clad seating area, on which to relax and work in the sunniest part of the garden. The wall was extended in height with painted square trellis panels for privacy and seclusion.


As the client would frequently be away from home the planting selected needed to be low maintenance, consisting of evergreen shrubs and hardy ground cover, with foliage in shades of gold, red and purple, and white flowers where possible for evening impact. Tayberries were chosen to be grown against a sunny fence, as an interesting alternative to traditional soft fruit.


Yellow tumbled limestone was used for all paving including the built-in seat, for a warm appearance and to be soft underfoot. Premium trellis painted in slate came from the Garden Trellis Company.

Who built the garden

This garden build was carried out by Holland Landscapes

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Garden Design
Balcony Garden Design, Balcony Terrace Garden Design