Pitt Crescent in May

When Karen first saw her 1920s terraced house, it was the long, 30m x 8m back garden that most surprised her. 'Because the railway track lies at the end, the plot is longer than normal for a house this size, and there’s a wide expanse of open sky above the embankment — most unusual for London.' Originally, the garden had been well maintained, having a rich, deep top soil, and sloped gently from the cottage up to the railway line. However, Karen decided to terrace the plot into three levels, forming a series of small compartments to break up the space with a certain theatricality — not surprising, since she trained in theatre design. At the back of her mind was a childhood fantasy about secret gardens, and later of hidden spaces within in the manner of Hidcote.

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