Scape Design Associates has recently completed the landscape design for 50 St. Edmund’s Terrace, a prestigious new residential development in the heart of an exclusive central London conservation area. Bordered by Primrose Hill and overlooking the vast expanse of Regent’s Park, the privileged location offered Scape idyllic inspiration for a landscape that provides residents with both social and private connections to nature.
The properties’ peripheral landscape lies on an embankment that slopes towards Regent’s Park. Native ground cover, evergreen perennials and annual plants have been introduced to offer continuity of habitat and a food source for small animals and insects whilst increasing the site’s biodiversity. New plantings of robust, shade tolerant shrubs and hedges occur in the verge to reinforce the green edge of the development, while high hedge planting alleviates the effect of the buildings’ exposed structural bases. In addition, several native trees have been incorporated to complement existing vegetation. The courtyards and the beds directly in front of the buildings display more exotic planting such as African Lilies, Japanese Anemones, Siberian Bugloss and Red Hot Pokers to provide colour and fragrance. Native species along the west side of the development as well as the hedgerow at its front encourage wildlife habitats and foraging corridors for birds and bats.
Scape’s concept not only forms a harmonious bridge between the residences’ two verdant neighbours, it also corresponds to the Regency style proportions of architect Squire and Partners’ building design. The landscape has a “naturalistic” and “gardenesque” planting scheme within a formal and classical structure that radiates from an axial focus, typical of Regency and Late Georgian gardens. Two long courtyards with stone clad water features provide a peaceful escape from the public parks and street side hardscape by offering a private oasis for quiet contemplation. Formal groves of silver birch create focal points at the end of each axis, accentuated by decorative stone feature walls. Apartments overlooking these benefit from the tranquillity of the reflecting pools and greenscape, with small, multi-stemmed trees forming low light canopies that screen ground floor apartments from upper level windows. Ornamental and seasonal shrubs and groundcover, as well as programmable planting like potted Japanese maple trees, allow residents to enjoy the cycles of nature throughout the year while also providing a habitat and food for birds, butterflies and other insects.
Scape’s remit included the obtaining of planning permission in a sensitive and heavily constrained 1500 sqm plot above a Thames Water infrastructure site, as well as site observation during construction to ensure compliance. Built to Target Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4, environmental concerns were of the utmost importance. Green roofs planted with acid grassland provide habitats for native birds and insects so that the biosphere is integrated with that of the parks. In addition, 17% of the electrical demand for the 36 apartments and one townhouse is generated by renewable sources, with rooftop photovoltaic cells as well as a ground source heat pump to capture thermal energy. A rainwater harvesting system is also in place to irrigate the gardens.