Eton Terrace – Carolyn Grohmann – International Garden Designer

We stumbled upon UK designer Carolyn Grohmann in looking for inspiration for our Oxford project. Carolyn’s design aesthetic is innovative, texture driven and colour scheme led. She shares our approach to garden design – her gardens are all plant focused and the foundation of her design process.
Carolyn has designed and constructed many stunning landscapes to date and her work on the Eton Terrace is a particular favourite of ours.
Tucked behind one of the most elegant terraces in Edinburgh is a garden that has been designed to be inviting, regardless of time of day or season.  Its owners were clear they wanted somewhere that would draw them outside all year round at any hour.  Carolyn was commissioned to turn this awkwardly shaped space into proper garden with year-round colour and space for vegetables to grow.
Ian Barker Gardens - Garden Notebook Edition 7 - Carolyn Grohmann
The garden is long and narrow and it sits at a sharp angle to the house, finishing in a point at the far end. Rather than attempt to disguise the boundaries, Carolyn based her design on a sectional slice of a flower, with petal shaped beds radiating from the terrace.  On the terrace she placed a large lily bowl, its surface a perfect reflecting mirror, its exterior rusted to a warm shade of ochre, and she surrounded it with a low wall topped with scorched oak to create a curved seating area.
Ian Barker Gardens - Garden Notebook Edition 7 - Carolyn Grohmann
Deeper into the garden, raised beds were made from woven rebar, the reinforcing rods used in construction and road building.  With its resemblance to willow, woven rebar gives the appearance of the natural material but has the advantage of longevity.  It was important for the raised beds to be big enough to not dry out quickly, so they are substantial and have been planted out, helping to keep down weeds and reducing evaporation from the soil surface.
Ian Barker Gardens - Garden Notebook Edition 7 - Carolyn Grohmann
The planting is a gloriously romantic, heady palette of perennials including Primula Japonica ’Apple Blossom’, Paeonia ‘Claire de Lune’ interspersed with Stipa Tenuissima and Carex elata aurea grasses above which fine leaved Acer Palmatum Osakazuki, Cercidiphyllum Japonicum and other small trees of delicate habit cast only a tracery of shade.
Ian Barker Gardens - Garden Notebook Edition 7 - Carolyn Grohmann
Growing plants in the substantial beds create useful height. When the rush of new growth gets going in spring, the garden quickly disappears behind a lacey screen of flowers and foliage, making a trip to the beehive-shaped compost bins feel like a journey of discovery.
Ian Barker Gardens - Garden Notebook Edition 7 - Carolyn Grohmann
These bins and the exterior door that leads to the lane have been painted black to tone with the scorched oak.  The garden furniture is also black, which brings some cohesion to the design.
When she surveyed the garden, Carolyn was struck by the beauty of the high walls that surround it, so she recessed the sand-coloured mortar to encourage each stone block to stand proud.  Because of the long hours of summer daylight in Scotland, garden lighting isn’t always essential but here she has used subtle up-lighters to bring out the beauty of the walls.
Ian Barker Gardens - Garden Notebook Edition 7 - Carolyn Grohmann
This is another reason why she hasn’t also smothered the walls in climbers, preferring instead to use them as a decorative foil for well-spaced trees and shrubs.  The end result is a delicate balance between contemporary design and traditional garden elements that look good in every season and in all weather conditions.
We’re sure you’ll be just as impressed with Carolyn’s work as we are!
To see more of Carolyn’s beautiful work click here