Pelham Crescent by Luciano Giubbilei

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The garden at Pelham Crescent in London was designed by Luciano Giubbilei in 2004. The brief was to link the newly refurbished house with the recently built garage at the far end of the existing garden.

Luciano emphasised the link between the house and garden with his use of scale and proportion. A seating and dining area was created at the far end of the garden, under an elegant wooden pavilion. A water feature, made from soft-honed Acero limestone, divides the garden and adds linear structure. It was designed by water specialist Andrew Yewing. Limestone gravel is preferred to grass, reducing the ongoing maintenance requirements of the garden. Flame-textured, Scala blue limestone has been used for the steps and paving leading to the house. Three sentinel-like sculptures made from black oak add vertical structure to the garden. They were designed by the artists Malcom Martin and Gaynor Dowling.

Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) hedging softens the hard landscaping. The hedging is relatively low so it does not to dominate the garden and overpower the vertical sculptures. Privacy from the neighbours is acheived with horizontal slated fencing in the same copper coloured wood as the pavilion. During late autumn and winter the leaves of the Hornbeam hedge turn a lovely copper colour that compliments this wood.

A low Box (Buxus sempervirens) hedge brings the eye level down to the water sculpture and adds emphasis to the vertical sculptures. Having the low Box hedge next to the Hornbeam visually creates more width to the thin, long garden. And the different leaf shapes of the hedges adds textural interest. Two small strips of Box hedging are used above the limestone steps leading down to the house. This adds continuity and connects the garden.

For me the stars of the garden are three magnificent, multi-stemmed Amelanchier. They contrast the linear quality of the hard landscaping and their stems stand out against the limestone gravel. The Amelanchiers’ light leaf canopy structure create a beautiful dappled light in the garden below. In autumn the leaves turn a majestic red-orange colour. In spring they awaken from their winter slumber laden with ivory white blossom. This and the changing colour of the Hornbeam hedge add wonderful, seasonal interest to the garden.

The planting takes on a different character at night with simple lighting. The Amelanchier are lit from below to highlight the beautiful pattern of branches and the delicate leaf canopy in summer.

During night and day the planting creates an interplay between light and shadow that brings the garden alive with movement, without overpowering the structural importance of the hard landscaping and sculpture.


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By James Todman

Topiary Specialist based in The Cotswolds, UK.

2 replies on “Pelham Crescent by Luciano Giubbilei”

Thank you Becky. I find the gardens by Luciano Giubbilei so inspiring so I’m sure there will be a few more featured on my blog! He has an amazing attention to detail and although the planting is simple, it fits the situation perfectly.

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