With a brief to develop a planting scheme for this new cultural venue in East London, this is Alexa’s final project as part of her planting design diploma at London College of Garden Design.
Sadler’s Wells East opens up new opportunities for a diverse range of dance companies to develop, perform and tour. It houses a hip hop academy and choreography centre, all with the aim of growing the next generation of dancers and appreciators of dance in East London.
The garden at Sadler’s Wells East sits between the theatre and Waterworks River and overlooks Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is where dance and planting meet to create a space that is joyful, uplifting and celebrates the power of nature. It provides outside space for dance performance and rehearsal, as well as quiet areas for friends and family to relax. The garden is planted in a naturalistic style, inspired by the way plants grow in the wild. Waves of uplifting colour and textures roll throughout the year. So there is always something to see, whatever the season.
Colourful, sculptural trees create a shelter belt in the south-west of the garden to protect the area from river winds. And the garden contains many species of plants attractive to wildlife – from early flowering bulbs to seed heads left over winter for birds. Once established, the garden will have little need for watering.
Plants have been chosen to reflect the theme of dance – through shape, movement and sound.
We’ve taken two gardens belonging to a Georgian house in Hackney and joined them as one to create a beautiful woodland space with plenty of room for the clients to relax, entertain and grow fruit and veg in the sunniest spot.
A winding path of self-binding gravel edged in yellow granite setts leads through generous beds of texture with pops of colour.
The site already had some beautiful trees, including an enormous plane tree. These – plus the very odd shape of the garden – inspired the design.