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Having brought up a family of three children, this Edinburgh couple decided to turn their attention to improving their Newington property. The house, a handsome late Victorian villa set in a sea of grass bordered by a privet hedge, had hardly changed over the years so was in need of some degree of modernization.

While acknowledging the many positives of their home, for example the generously proportioned front rooms and wealth of period features the couple were aware, as in common with many of the buildings of the time, the property was deficient in maximizing the potential availability of light. The dining and kitchen areas in particular, were small and dingy though facing onto a sunny garden area. Additionally there was no proper outside seating area save in a corner of the courtyard to the rear of the property which received just a few hours sunshine per day during the summer.

The plan was thus to open up the kitchen and dining areas to create a multi-purpose Garden Room overlooking a purpose built outside seating area. When the Architects had finished their work we were left to deal with the external space as shown in the “Existing” layout.



  • Design a purpose built patio adjacent and complementary to ,the new Garden Room, minimum size 10 M2, big enough to house the dining table comfortably seating six persons and housing structures which may double as overspill seating for parties.

  • Create stimulating views of the garden from within the Garden Room throughout the day and year.

  • Address privacy problems in relation to overlooking bedrooms and the bare area at the base of the privet hedge.

  • Increase the width of the driveway to allow for two cars to be parked within the security of the property and resurface.

  • Repave the courtyard

  • Reduce the amount of grass to be mown.

  • Retain the Maple as far as practically possible.


  • Site for key outdoor seating area 600mm. above Garden Room finished floor level.

  • Very attractive Holly tree but causing growth problems for the hedge and right on line of the proposed patio. Clients appreciated on balance this may have to go.

  • Very attractive Maple to the right of the proposed development- clients very fond of this.
    Retain if possible.

  • Unfortunately the condition of the privet hedge is at its worse here- the lower part is bare, allowing in views from the street.

  • Site overlooked from adjacent bedroom and to the N.E.

  • The clients told me on street parking is a major problem as spaces are often taken by university students. However the driveway could potentially be widened to two take two parked cars and in any event it needs resurfacing.

  • Crazy paved courtyard in need of repaving.


  • A deck surrounded by three retaining structures is sunk into the upper bank to create a literal Outdoor Room”. To the right is a raised planting bed which facilitates retention of the Maple and allows the newly widened and resurfaced driveway to be built onto.

  • A central free standing wall disguises the bare privet hedge base thus improving privacy and also houses a letter box water feature to captivate the eye and stop in wandering upwards to the overlooking bedroom window. To the left is a retaining wall- part of the structure separating the upper terrace from the perimeter path.

  • Built-in benches on the retaining walls flanking both sides of the central wall maximize seating potential while keeping views to the garden uncluttered.

  • Outdoor Room floor level the same as the Garden Room to create a seamless connection between the two.

  • Bold “Modernistic” Architectural feel of outside Room complements Garden Room.

  • Sunken nature of the Outdoor Room, bolstered by dense, mature planting creates a suntrap and improves privacy and shelter.

  • Mature Bamboo are planted in the bed to the left of the Outdoor Room for instant screening from the overlooking NE bedrooms. Later it hoped the job will be supplemented by a clump of Birch trees planted in the NE corner of the garden.

  • Mixed planting is employed to provide all year round stimulation. Interesting evergreens contrast with the central wall throughout the year.

  • Vibrant coloured perennials combined with grasses contrast and complement with the bold Architectural forms. Spring interest is provided by mixed Rhododendrons and Azaleas planted in the bed to the right of the patio and under the Birch trees.

  • A control panel in the Garden Room enables the client to create water and lighting displays.

Edinburgh Garden Design