Lynne Marcus

A new, multi level garden was required to complement a major renovation for a family with two young boys and their African tortoise in Highgate, north London.  The Brief was to create an elegant, semi traditional, symmetrical garden. The design had to include direct access from the garden via a lower ground courtyard to an indoor swimming pool in the basement of the house.  Also on the wish list; a loggia with kitchen for outside leisure and entertaining, a vivarium for the African tortoise, a large lawn for football, a hidden spot for a trampoline and an understated planting palette restricted to mostly green and white.


Both linear and curvilinear geometry was used to anchor the house to the landscape.

A central axis of symmetry extends from the front door, through the house to the main garden steps, drawing the eye to the rear of the garden. A secondary axis is centered on the Orangery/family room, up a set of steps to a circular inset with sundial down the path to the loggia.  The elliptical lower pool courtyard increases width and is echoed in the lawn shape.    A symmetrical pair of Italianate style staircases with railings that echo the internal staircase, lead up from the courtyard to link with the main terrace and central steps; integrating the courtyard with the garden and central view.


Sawn, grey Scout Moor stone was used in large units for the terrace and as feature setts for the lower courtyard, circles and loggia terrace. Random length ‘parquet’ style Scout was used to clad the walls to create a seamless, uncluttered transition in levels.   The soft grey reflects the shades used throughout the house, so tying the interior décor with exterior materials.  Crunchy Cedec paths edged with setts offer contrast and set off planting.


A lead-clad water cistern flanked with palms and ferns in the cobbled lower courtyard add an exotic touch and offer a dramatic view from the pool and upper floors.   A matching fire table and lounge chairs provides space for relaxation after a swim.


The garden incline is terraced and planted as a contemporary, three-dimensional box parterre filled with small, white roses and soft under-planting.  The main steps are flanked with Quercus ilex leading to the lawn and to a pathway through an arching ‘Cornus avenue’ to the loggia to the rear.  Clipped hedging, domes, cubes and pillars strengthen the architecture of the garden   giving way to a more organic style of planting to the rear. Ornamental trees, billowing hedges of Hydrangea and fresh, seasonal planting of roses, herbaceous, grasses, ferns and bulbs deliver constant, seasonal change.



Designer:  Lynne Marcus Garden & Landscape Design

Architect:  Charlton Brown

Landscape Contractor:  The Garden Builders

Photography Jacek Wac , Matthew Gilbert & Tony Murray


Lynne has is a registered member of the Society of Garden Designers and the British Association of Landscape Industries.


Web:  www.


Tel:  020 8340 3409.