Breakers Yard

A complete redesign of a former car breakers yard adjacent to The National Trust’s Sutton House, a Grade II* listed Tudor manor house situated in Hackney, Greater London. Following consultation with a variety of stakeholders, the client’s main outcome was to redesign the derelict yard into an innovative community space, incorporating opportunities for play, education and events.

The design needed to adhere to many restrictions with respect to its position within a local Conservation Area and within the setting of a listed building. In addition, the site contained contaminants owing to its previous usage as a car breakers yard.

Breakers Yard incorporates a curving brick path leading visitors from the historical house into the garden. Up-cycled vehicles reference the site’s recent history, providing surreal, fantastic and surprising play and multi-functional spaces. Other play and educational opportunities are offered through water (utilising stored filtered rainwater), sand, and edible planting.

Bespoke louvred gates channel views into the garden from the public road. These incorporate toy diecast cars, including Matchbox cars formerly manufactured in Hackney.

The garden won two awards, including Best Community Garden at the Society of Garden Designers’ (SGD) Awards in 2017.

This garden could not have come about without the collaborative skills of its designer. Dan Lobb and the National Trust have breathed life back into a derelict site and brought a community together. At times, it is a place so full of energy it might burst.”

Richard Sneesby, Society of Garden Designers (Judge)