News Article

Location Agency Insider:

What makes a good London location house garden?

News Article

Location Agency Insider:

What makes a good London location house garden?

You’ve got a shoot or film location house in London, you’ve got a garden, but are you making the most of it as a shoot location? Here are our Fresh Locations agency’s expert insights into making the most of your outside space as a shoot or film location. Plus scroll down to discover some of our very best garden locations.

Whether you’re a location house owner or a London location hunter, Fresh Locations have got all the intel on shoot location gardens…

Size matters for a location agency garden

When it comes to garden shoot locations, size does matter. Small gardens sometimes can and do work but, on the whole, bigger is better. There’s more likely to be a good light and of course, the camera needs to be able to get back to get a good shot - whether it’s a stills or film shoot – and for a film location, there’s likely to be a larger crew to factor in too.

Must-have features for shoot location gardens

A good-sized lawn is the classic feature, and good quality astro-turf is often even better – it’s incredibly useful to when trying to create that glorious, green summer vibe in the depths of winter. And our location agency team are also finding that meadows are becoming a sought-after feature too. We’re still waiting for an astro-turf version of that! Make sure your boundaries are smart, tidy and obscure views of neighbouring gardens (and ideally look the same on each side of the garden). Meanwhile as a hard surface, well-kept decking seems to be eternally popular – a paved area at the opposite end to the house is handy too. Finally, smart neutral garden furniture is of course a real asset.

Then there are the special features that clients love, they’re not essential but it’s great if you can deliver them. Summerhouses can work so well in all kinds of shoot location settings – from product shots, to fashion, entertaining, to film and pop promos. We’re also getting asked for more and more veg patches so it could be time to grow your own…

Perfect planting for a location agency garden

The features we talked about above are all things people would want in a great garden – when it’s a shoot location or not, but with plants it can be a little bit different. We find that it’s best to avoid the types of flower everybody knows, things like daffodils and bluebells, because on a film or stills shoot, they’ll scream ‘spring’ even if the crew are trying to create a completely different time of year. Most – but not all – garden shoots tend to want to create spring or summer, and often the crew is trying to do that in winter or early spring. So it’s all about looking for ways to boost that sense of lush greenery. Evergreens are your friend, especially climbers that will cover boundaries, pergolas etc. Trachelospermum jasminoides, the evergreen or star jasmine, is maintenance free and looks lush and green all year round. For winter-flowering climbers, look at evergreen clematis like Clematis cirrhosa 'Jingle Bells' which flowers in the depths of winter, with Clematis armandi following after. In late winter and early spring you can bring colourful flowers to your garden with camellia shrubs, many of which look very similar to roses, while hellebores are smaller but just as colourful. Evergreen ferns like Polypodium vulgare will help to fill out your winter borders with healthy greenery too.

The prevailing garden fashion for wilder gardens is coming up more and more on the briefs that are coming in – looser, more naturalistic planting styles are definitely on trend. Jungle gardens are another popular look, as you’ll know if you’ve watched Gardeners’ World recently. We’re getting lots of requests for tropical plants, which give the look of an exotic foreign shoot but without the airmiles. If you’re going for these, it makes sense to choose evergreen ones and cover all your bases – so consider hardy palms like Butia Capitata, Chamaerops humilis and Cordyline australis which comes in a great selection of greens, yellows, pinks and purples. Of course, with all of these plants, do check that they can cope with the climate and conditions in your garden.

Hunting for Fresh garden locations?

If you’re looking for a garden location, talk to our team of experts about your search and we’ll can help to pinpoint your perfect garden from our library of hand-picked locations. In the meantime, here are some of our horticultural highlights to get you started…

Shoot location gardens in London

Art Deco Apartment It might come as a surprise to learn that our Art Deco Apartment shoot location, with its palm-fringed swimming pool, is actually in Earls Court. This tropical fantasy garden features a variety of seating areas and styles – including a very desirable-looking hammock. This garden could double for the Far East (with its Buddhist shrine) or the Caribbean – all without leaving the city centre.

Fulton Park This London location house, Fulton Park, in NW2, is a large, semi-detached family home featuring lots of ornate ceilings and fireplaces, while the well-manicured garden – large by London standards – features a wide lawn, mature trees and a an elegant architectural decked terrace that includes both an outdoor lounge and dining area.

Palm Lodge For true tropical escapism in London’s Lewisham, there’s the Palm Lodge shoot and film location. Set in the garden of a colourful, contemporary family home, there’s a cool cabin that really looks as if it’s set within the rainforest jungle or on a tropical island. It could make a convincing hotel room or a brilliant beach shack, depending on your brief.

Sydenham Park Also in South East London is Sydenham Park, a shoot location house with a beautiful landscaped garden, capturing several versatile looks from contemporary-modern to romantic cottage garden. Features include a pale stone terrace opening out from a particularly smart and polished back-of-house (great for advertising – no scruffy gutters here!), a good-sized oval lawn, a timber pergola and an arch covered with climbing plants.

Shoot location gardens close to London

Ambleside Ambleside is a large location house, a short drive from London in Hertfordshire, and offers numerous gorgeous garden features including a large swimming pool, tropical palm trees, Eastern elements, a lounge area complete with bar set within a giant water feature, all under a lush fig tree – as well as other seating area options. There’s a Japanese garden, a swing seat in a tree and even giant chess board – the list goes on!

Bedmond Just outside the M25 in Hertfordshire is Bedmond, a jewel in our shoot location library. This elegant old country house is on a grand scale, which is echoed by its grounds. As well as beautiful gardens, including a particularly lovely walled garden, the location house also features a swimming pool, tennis court, period greenhouses, a pond, bluebell woodlands, rolling meadows and much more.

Fulmer A short drive from Pinewood Studios, just outside the M25 in Buckinghamshire is Fulmer. A large country house filming and photography location, this stunning property is completed by is gorgeous grounds which include an elaborate stone fountain, large sweeping lawns, a beautiful period conservatory and lush Japanese gravel garden. There are horses available for hire on request too!