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Lost in Time: A London Courtyard Garden on a Camera-Ready Historic Street

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Lost in Time: A London Courtyard Garden on a Camera-Ready Historic Street

October 16, 2018

You would not know from walking down Roupell Street that this quaint London lane on the southern side of the Thames River was marshland in the 18th century.

Lined with two-story row houses built in the 1820s by an enterprising businessman named John Palmer Roupell, the block is now considered “an immaculately preserved enclave of Georgian architecture in the heart of Waterloo.” Maybe you have seen the street, playing a starring role as an evocative backdrop in the television series Call the Midwife?

The other day our contributor Margot Guralnick spotted a listing on real estate site The Modern House of a magical remodel—indoors and out—for a Roupell Street gem, a Rescued Georgian in a ‘Time-Capsule Enclave’ (see the interiors on Remodelista).

Today, we tour the courtyard garden…and imagine what it might have looked like 200 years ago:

Photography courtesy of The Modern House, except where noted.

&#8\2\20;A new glazed extension feeds light into the plan of the building,&#8\2\2\1; note the architects.
Above: “A new glazed extension feeds light into the plan of the building,” note the architects.

Painted gray and stacked, concrete blocks become planters and create a sculptural element against a brick wall.

Would you like to make your own modern planter box on wheels? See Container Gardening: A DIY Planter on Wheels for step-by-step instructions for a project from our Gardenista book.

Granite pavers laid in a herringbone pattern repeat a theme (indoors, the kitchen floor also has a herringbone pattern).
Above: Granite pavers laid in a herringbone pattern repeat a theme (indoors, the kitchen floor also has a herringbone pattern).

The back of the courtyard garden opens onto the street behind Roupell.

If you want to transform a wire or metal basket into a planter for a mossy arrangement, see our post \10 Easy Pieces: Wire Harvest Baskets.
Above: If you want to transform a wire or metal basket into a planter for a mossy arrangement, see our post 10 Easy Pieces: Wire Harvest Baskets.

Above a brick wall, a close-clipped hedge adds an additional layer of privacy without making the garden feel claustrophobic.

A window above the sink in a remodeled kitchen by Finley Fraher takes full advantage of the garden view.
Above: A window above the sink in a remodeled kitchen by Finley Fraher takes full advantage of the garden view.
With the doors open, a car can pull in and park in the courtyard (you can roll aside the wooden planters, which are on wheels, before parking).
Above: With the doors open, a car can pull in and park in the courtyard (you can roll aside the wooden planters, which are on wheels, before parking).

Can you spot the garden’s electric-car charging station?

A blue front door and matching window trim (painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue) is identical to the color scheme in the courtyard garden. Photograph courtesy of Fraher Architects.
Above: A blue front door and matching window trim (painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue) is identical to the color scheme in the courtyard garden. Photograph courtesy of Fraher Architects.

The house is under contract, notes The Modern House. But the next time you are in London, you can take a walking tour to learn more of Roupell street’s secret history.

Are you designing a small city courtyard garden of your own? For inspiration, see our Garden Design 101 guides to Patios & Decks, Fences & Gates, and Pavers. See more of our favorite small courtyard gardens:

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