Tom Howard: Embracing Outdoor Space
Tom Howard Garden Design is a small design and build company operating mainly in south west London, we talk to the team to ﬁnd out more about the company’s services
In London it is a luxury to have a large expanse of garden and so typically Tom and his team work on designs for small to medium gardens and for clients that really want to make the most of the space that they have.
Gardens are being treated much more as an extension of the house – another room. Some of the same rules apply to designing an outside space as they do inside. Small spaces especially offer a greater design challenge and more so when wanting to include many elements.
Seating areas with ﬁrepits that can be used all year round, outdoor kitchens and secluded areas to relax in are all becoming very popular requests.
In a recently completed project, the client wanted to have a covered area connected to the house that could be used for outdoor dining whatever the weather. A pergola was constructed using a mixture of painted softwood and cedar batons as a decorativecanopy. A clear, washable sheet material was then ﬁtted over the roof falling to a gutter and drainpipe to keep the area completely dry. Outdoor heaters where ﬁtted to the walls, an outdoor kitchen with a granite surface in the corner and dining table with down lights taking centre stage.
A further seating area was constructed in the corner of the garden partly screened by multi-stem Amalanchier trees. The seating area is surrounded by Silver Birch and Cornus (wonderful red and green stems) with corten steel walls behind to contrast with the black fences and white stems of the trees.
Corten steel is very popular and a good choice of material in a garden as it needs no looking after and the vibrant orange rust that forms compliments all of the greens of the garden as well as hardwoods such as western red Cedar.
Decorative laser cut corten panels are also available which can have lights added behind looking very effective at night.
In a roof terrace in Chelsea, Tom used a laser cut corten panel on a rendered wall looking like a painting hanging on a wall and then a sleek stainless steel gas ﬁreplace on the adjacent wall. The area feels very intimate and really is a cosy outdoor sitting room.
Tom Howard Garden Design