A Look at LCGD Graduate Lara Behr’s SGD Student Award Shortlisted Garden

In Lara’s own words

Rethinking Boundaries: Project Statement

Rethinking Boundaries is a concept proposal for the design of a communal garden in Penge, South East London and the result of an after supper conversation with friends over a bottle or two of wine …

I mentioned that as a child returning to England, after growing up in Africa, I would look out of my bedroom window overlooking the back garden of our Victorian terrace and find the division of the large outdoor space into these small little regular shaped pieces of garden, marked by fences and walls very strange. Used to unenclosed landscapes that I could roam at will, I would imagine what a exciting place it would be, if only I could climb that inviting apple tree two gardens down, or pick next door’s blackberries.

One of the couples in this conversation said that they would love to open up their garden and share the space with their neighbours. I agreed to investigate the idea and come up with a concept propos­al and this is the result.

Whilst I have attempted to come up with a practical design it is hard to imagine that a scheme like this would ever be built. Getting agreement from all involved, cost, legalities etc. make this a dream pro­ject but it is important to question how we use our precious urban green spaces.

Private space is retained close to each house, with a patio and small lawn. Revolving screens at eye level height allow views to the communal space to be either closed off or opened up.

The straight lines of fences are broken up to become the straight lines of communal decked paths. Un­der the canopy of mature trees in the centre of the space there are clearings, areas for social gather­ings, children to play but also smaller more private spaces.

Planting reflects the natural progression of vegetation from grasslands to woodland edge and finally to forest floor towards the centre of the garden.

Storage sheds and bike shelters are provided for. Refuse and recycling storage would be designed into the good sized front gardens.

Our thanks to Lara for supplying the image of the garden.