Tiny Plot – Big Ask

Tiny Plot, Big Ask

Approximately half-way through the implementation. Most planting is still to take place.

An Urban city house with a small back garden that is split in two by a central garage (what builder puts a garage in the middle of the garden?). Four enormous conifers in the rear section rendered it unusable. Produce a chill-out zone & grow lots of food without making it look cluttered. A miracle was needed. 

Design Process Overview

To enlarge click on the image

Client Briefing

“At present we are not able to use the rear portion of the garden for anything. Very little light can get to it at any time of day due to the massive conifers which overhang the entire section. The city council has instructed that these have to be removed as they are a hazard to neighbouring properties.
We would like a usable area that we can use to produce as much food as possible. We would like a selection of fruit, especially berries as they can be expensive to buy and maybe a couple of small fruit trees. It would also be nice to be able to grow some veg.
We really need somewhere where we can also relax and de-stress and perhaps eat outdoors; so maybe a small deck with table and chairs. We don’t want it to look cluttered though. We have a budget of around £1,500 but the tree work is going to be quite expensive.”

Site Survey

The site, measuring approximately 6m x 4m (19’6″ x 13′) is completely obscured from light by four massive conifer trees. It is accessed by a path from alongside the garage to the rear. The site is East facing, the direction of the photograph. With the Sun rising from left to right (winter to summer) during the course of the year.

Throughout the year the Sun travels overhead during the course of the day to set behind the garage in the evening. The site therefore has sunlight during the best part of the day dependent upon season. (See site base map below for exact measurements and aspect.) Being a totally enclosed area the site does not suffer any problems from prevailing wind..

The site is completely level so has no water run-off issues and consists of a concrete pad immediately in front of the garage, measuring 2m x 3.5m (to the rear of photograph). The rest of the site is gravel over a heavy duty weed suppressent fabric, under which the ground appears to be heavily impacted. This is totally carpeted by a thick layer of dead conifer needles. (See photograph 1).

The problem caused by the trees is much in evidence from the mid tree-line photograph, showing the reach of the lower branches over the area. The photograph taken from the other side of the garage demonstrates the sheer scale of these trees. Whilst the aerial photograph demonstrates the total cover of the canopy of the trees, prohibiting sunlight from reaching the ground.

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