Juergen Teller's studio garden

Dan Pearson’s timeless courtyard garden for Juergen Teller

The fashion and art photographer has a garden tucked away in his studio in west London. Words by Alys Fowler. Photographs by Andrew Montgomery

Dan Pearson‘s garden for Juergen Teller’s London studio is three interconnecting courtyard gardens, each sized 2.5m x 2.5m. The soil is London clay and it has mild climate in a hardiness zone of USDA 8. The gardens offer a wild twist on Asian design ideas and perfectly complement the modern interiors of this former industrial shed. “Part of our thinking was to imagine what would happen if we’d left the building for 30 years. How would it look?” says Dan. Read our full article on this garden in September’s issue of Gardens Illustrated.

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Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery

Dan Pearson’s design for the London studio of German photographer Juergen Teller, features three enclosed courtyard gardens that act as pools of green light, becoming increasingly greener and wilder as you progress through the building. Full height glass doors mean once inside the studio you can see all but the final, hidden courtyard.

Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery

In the first courtyard two multi-stemmed Amelanchier lamarckii provide interest from spring to autumn. The understorey is planted up with Dryopteris wallichiana, Asplenium scolopendrium and Geranium nodosum, which thrives even in very dry shade.

I wanted to create a progression as you go deeper into the building. So, as you get to the back where it becomes more private, you get a sense of seclusion.
Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery

The groundcover, Eurybia divaricata has a spreading habit, so is best used where it can elegantly sprawl.

Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery

In the second courtyard Dan has used several rough-leaved hydrangeas, including Hydrangea aspera Kawakamii Group, to create a dramatic scale with foliage. Its large leaves offer interest throughout the summer, but it comes into its own in autumn when it offers large lacecap flowers.

Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery
Anemone x hybrida
‘Honorine Jobert’ will flower throughout later summer and into autumn. It is happy in part shade in reasonably moist soil, and is perfect for lightening up a dark corner.

Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery

In the final courtyard, the huge leaves of Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’ remain evergreen giving this private space a lush, tropical feel. It is underplanted with Dryopteris wallichiana and a silvery leaved Pulmonaria saccharata ‘Leopard’, which helps to reflect light back into the room.

Juergen Teller's studio garden
© Andrew Montgomery

The second courtyard is dominated by two Betula nigra, chosen for their particularly beautiful trunks in winter, which are underplanted with Hydrangea aspera Kawakamii Group and ferns such as Dryopteris wallichiana. In the foreground, the shade-tolerant Japanese forest grass Hakonechloa macra softens the concrete.

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 Find out more about Dan’s work at danpearsonstudio.com