The capital is famous for its beautiful squares, created by great architects and landscape designers such as Thomas Leverton, Thomas Cubitt, and Humphrey Repton, from the grand stucco terraces in Belgravia to garden squares tucked away in hidden corners of the capital.
When Adam Lawrence decided to launch a development company in 2010 after 20 years in the housebuilding industry, he wanted to reflect the sense of legacy and community created over the centuries by these prized green pockets, fringed by homes. And so, London Square was born.
One of its first projects in Fulham, the design was based on Wellington Square in Chelsea. London Square even had a Gold Medal winning garden at RHS Chelsea, depicting a corner of a London Square by leading designer Jo Thompson. Every London Square scheme has green space at its heart, neighbourhood garden squares, trees, lawns, landscaped courtyards, roof terraces and communal gardens with seating for residents to enjoy some down time.
This year, the company is supporting the London Square Open Gardens Weekend, organised by the London Gardens Trust, on 11 and 12 June.
Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive, London Square, said: “The ethos of London Square is all about creating open spaces and placemaking where we build our homes, carrying on the tradition of the great squares across the capital. Emerging from the pandemic, London's green areas are more important than ever and we are delighted to be sponsoring this event to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy them.”
Gardens taking part range from grand garden squares to rooftop gardens, from community gardens to the historic grounds of Lincoln's Inn in the City.
As part of the weekend, in Belgravia, an area studded with pretty garden squares, visitors will be welcomed to The Grosvenor Estate's 4.5 acre Belgrave Garden Square designed by George Basevi and planted by Cubitt in the early 19th century. Some of the original planting remains. There are paths with roses and wisteria, four summerhouses, a tennis court, playground, outdoor gym and even a forest school.
Eaton Square Garden, just a few minutes'; walk to the south, will also be open. The square is named after the Duke of Westminster's main home, Eaton Hall in Cheshire. Thomas Cubitt started laying out the six gardens that form the square in 1826. Famous residents have included Neville Chamberlain and Vivien Leigh.
In contrast, in north London, not far from London Square's Caledonian Road development, a woodland garden has been created in the churchyard of St Paul's. The team has set out to enable vulnerable people in the community to access gardening and green space to enjoy the benefits that gardens and nature can bring to people’s lives. The garden will be open during the London Square Open Gardens Weekend.
Across the river in SE1 and within walking distance of London Square Bermondsey, a new neighbourhood of stylish apartments and duplexes in restored and converted industrial buildings combined with new build, there are several open gardens.
49 Bankside is a hidden and historic secret garden between the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern on South Bank. London's lowest street, Cardinal Cap Alley, leads to the entrance.
Also in SE1, Berwick Court has a rooftop community garden above an underground car park, with a larger exotic garden and a shady courtyard where all the flowers are white, inspired by Sissinghurst's famous White Garden. Before the local community took charge, it was an overgrown, unloved space.
The Southwark Cathedral Deanery is a secret riverside garden, belonging to the Dean of Southwark's private residence beside the Globe Theatre. Dating back to 1712, it is a tranquil wildlife haven and is tended by the cathedral's gardener. During the opening, the Southwark Cathedral Merbecke Chamber Choir will be performing and there will be a book signing by best selling author and mudlark, Lara Maiklem.
For more details on booking and opening times for the London Square Open Gardens Weekend, www.londongardenstrust.org