BELGRAVIA (location confidential)...we were very honoured to be chosen to construct this small (as in square metres) but very important garden...somewhere behind Harrod's).
So as you can see, this really is how to make (what was and could have still been), a very boring concrete space into something very, very special...
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It always amazes me when I get to see and then work in these amazingly "secret spaces" behind these magnificant London houses!
A tiny marble fountain (one of a matching pair, shown in the previous image to the right of this seat) tinkling into another part of the marble edged Rill, bringing peace and tranquility amidst the City buzz!!!...
It takes a certain skill (gained from experience) and a lot of patience to work in spaces such as these, but when you've done as many Chelsea Flower Show gardens as we have, working in these very restricted spaces is relatively esay.
Everything you see in this garden was brought through a doorway and down steps only about a metre wide, well almost everything...
So how do you get a carved marble Russian Sarcophagus, really, yes, that is what is, and very old...weighing over a ton into a courtyard garden through a 1 metre wide doorway?
Here you see the raw "Courtyard", as left to us by the builders, very, very good builders I should add, as you would expect for such a major house, but they knew their limits when it comes to complicated water features.
Unlike most builders, who think that anything can be easily constructed using waterproof concrete. But just try testing them, and get them to give you a guarantee against leaks! Five years...they will probably laugh! 25 years (which is our minimum guarantee)...out of the question!
Although I should add...these builders did get to this stage, and then thought...hang on a minute, what do we do next?
So we modify the Builders concrete foundations...then we line it.
Builders would line it with concrete and waterproof render, which is far from foolproof (more on that later). We use 100% foolproof methods that allow us to guarantee this sort of feature for 25 years. Once we have WATERPROOFED it, we then lay the marble slabs, or whatever it is we are using. But it's not the slabs or the mortar, that guarantees against leaks!
And by the way, the view above, is before...
...the superb steps were fitted, by the Builders...amazing!
So access...how do you get a near one ton of carved marble through a 1 metre door and down eight steps?
Fortunately the clients also own the Mews Houses behind, oh, and there's the door that everything else had to come through...
And you just shut the road for a hour or so...
And there we have one ton of Russian Antique Marble safely positioned...phew!!!
More of this project in later chapters.
In the next chapter, something much more down to earth than a marble coffin hanging on the end of a crane...two gardens in Hampstead...