Make your own Chelsea Flower Show winner on a London balcony
The arrival of the Chelsea Flower Show has coincided with the first sustained spell of nice weather in a hitherto miserable 2023. Now Londoners can finally open their garden sheds and channel their inner Alan Titchmarsh, attempting to turn their outdoor spaces into something bright and spectacular.
The Chelsea Flower Show this year is themed around a return to Britain’s natural meadows and bee friendly wildflowers. And while central London seems like a far cry from a prelapsarian state of nature, many of the displays prove that even the smallest space can provide a little oasis for both humans and insects.
One such exhibit is the ‘Alight Here’ Balcony Garden created by Emma Tipping. This Chelsea Flower Show Gold-winning display, built by Topoforma and sponsored by Berkeley Group’s St George, was created with working Londoners in mind, creating a place for reflection in a space small enough to fit on one of the balconies that have come to typify London’s modern apartment blocks.
“Inspired by daily city life, the garden is designed for a young professional in London, providing somewhere to sit with an after-work drink or a morning cup of coffee,” Tipping told the Royal Horticultural Society.
“The garden aims to create a relaxing but playful atmosphere, reminiscent of a good local pub – familiar, comforting, characterful.
“The space is divided into different areas to sit, surrounded by plants that are multi-functional, being fragrant, edible or good for cutting. The colour scheme includes citrusy tones of green and orange, contrasting with rich dark pinks and pale blue – making the space feel fresh and uplifting.
“The garden promotes a message of waste reduction, using repurposed rubbish bins as containers and benches made from reclaimed railway sleepers. The wall tiles, made from recycled Welsh slate, are installed using a silicone adhesive to ensure they can be removed and reused after the show.”
When the Chelsea Flower Show closes after this weekend, the Balcony Garden will move to the nearby Chelsea Creek development, a collection of one- to three-bedroom apartments by the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.
Chelsea Creek aims to be one of the most biodiverse modern developments in the city, with its numerous green spaces and winding waterways designed to make a genuine impact on biodiversity.
“St George is passionate about sustainability,” says St George West London regional managing director Stephen Kirwan. “To be truly sustainable, each and every aspect of a project must be reviewed. [Design studio] Thirteen ID adopted a suite of sustainable principles, through use of FSC certified wood, responsibility sourced materials, non-toxic paint, and a considered supply chain.”
Flats in Chelsea Creek’s 31-storey Imperial Tower will feature balconies that are ripe for wilding by potential occupants. Residents can also enjoy the onsite cinema room, gym, indoor pool and spa, which includes a rain shower and a Scandi-sauna and steam room.
Prices for an apartment in The Imperial start from £715,000. London’s salubrious neighbourhoods are, of course, not short of rooftop spaces where residents can exercise their green fingers. Harrods Estates is currently marketing Knightsbridge penthouse Trevor Square for a cool £16m. Here residents can enjoy a sprawling pair of roof terraces totalling more than 1,300sqft.
These gardens offer semi enclosed spaces for entertaining and plenty of room to create the kind of biodiverse space seen in Balcony Garden on a far bigger scale. Another vast rooftop terrace can be found at South Kensington’s Harrington Road penthouse, a seventh-floor oasis on the market for £8m. With panoramic views of London, outdoor rooms and a jacuzzi, this is the kind of space residents will be spending a lot of time in, making it the ideal canvas for a wild garden in the sky.
“London’s property market has witnessed a significant trend: the surging popularity of homes with roof gardens,” says Simon Barry, head of new developments at Harrods Estates.
“These urban sanctuaries perched high above the bustling streets have become highly coveted among homeowners and property investors alike.
“London, known for its towering skyscrapers and bustling cityscape, has often been associated with limited green spaces. However, the introduction of roof gardens has revolutionised the way residents interact with nature in the urban jungle. These elevated green oases provide a much-needed respite from the concrete and can offer breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s iconic landmarks. In a city where space is at a premium, the allure of having a private garden sanctuary atop one’s residence cannot be overstated.”
And creating a city-garden that Charlie Dimmock would be proud of can have benefits for your pocket as well as the local fauna.
“A tidy garden can be a valuable asset to any property and can significantly increase its value,” says Matt Johnson, area director at Johns & Co.
“As the saying goes, ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression,’ and a well-maintained garden can make a great first impression on potential buyers. “A tidy garden can create a sense of order and tranquillity, and can also provide additional living space for entertaining, relaxing or even growing fresh produce.
“Aesthetically, a tidy garden can have a positive impact on the curb appeal of a property and can make it more attractive to potential buyers. A garden that is well-kept, with trimmed hedges, mowed lawns, and neat flower beds, can create a sense of pride and ownership for the homeowner, and can leave a lasting impression on buyers.
“Additionally, a tidy garden can provide additional value through its practicality. A garden that is well-designed, with proper drainage and irrigation, can be a valuable asset for buyers who want to make use of outdoor space for recreation, gardening, or entertaining. A well-placed deck or patio, for example, can create a perfect outdoor living space for relaxing and entertaining.
“Overall, the value of a tidy garden is undeniable when it comes to the sale of a property. A well-kept garden can boost a property’s value by as much as 10-15 per cent, making it a wise investment for any homeowner looking to sell. Whether you are looking to sell your property soon or not, a tidy garden can provide years of enjoyment and relaxation and is a valuable addition to any home.”
So there you have it: good for the planet, good for your health and good for your wallet. Time to get out in the garden.
- For Chelsea Creek call 0203 944 9034 or visit chelseacreek.co.uk; for Trevor Square visit harrodsestates.com; for Harrington Road visit rokstone.com