When garden designer Joy Grey first visited this garden of a substantial Victorian Edinburgh terraced house, its main feature was sandbags. Now, it’s a beautiful, secluded, low maintenance garden which offers the owners a welcome respite from their busy working lives.

Living next to a river may seem like a dream for many, but in reality it can be living with the constant fear of the river flooding. And, this garden in the Warriston area of Edinburgh was no exception. When the owners, employed the service of garden designer Joy Grey, Edinburgh Council were in the process of building a large flood defence wall  at the bottom of the garden to stop the Water of Leith flooding into both this and other gardens and houses in the area. However, this work presented the perfect opportunity for a new garden as there would be access along the bottom of the garden while the new wall was installed.

Joy’s brief was for a low maintenance garden which would feel secluded despite being in Edinburgh’s city centre. A space to sit in the sun, room for a table and chairs and somewhere to barbecue. Natural materials were requested and the planting palette was to be blues, citrus greens, pinks, purples, and whites.

The first area, nearest the house and the kitchen doors, was paved with natural sandstone. Flower borders run along the south and west sides and a built-in stone bench runs along the east side. The area accommodates the barbecue and dining table and chairs – perfect for entertaining. Next to the kitchen door is a small herb garden. To the south there is a painted trellis fence clad with climbers and a paved pathway leading through to the second garden room. Here, you’ll find lawn surrounded by planting and a hard standing with the Lutyens bench. The path was made using reclaimed pavers already on site. The third room is laid to gravel to accommodate the wide footing for the flood wall which runs along the south end of the garden. There is a raised bed and herbaceous planting softens the wall. In the south east corner is a painted arbour which is ideal for a drink in the evening when the sun has left the patio near the house. 

The garden has a traditional feel tying it with the house and boundary walls, and the mixture of shrubs, perennials, climbers and bulbs mostly in shades of blue, citrus green, pink, purple and white ensure year-round colour and tranquillity.


The Grey Cottage, Goose Green, Gullane EH31 2AT
t: 01620 842866 | m: 07971163565
e: joy@goosegreendesign.co.uk