dan pearson studio

Bonnington Square






The place

Bonnington Square in Vauxhall is a stone’s throw from the River Thames and, from the late 1970s, was inhabited for many years by squatters, bohemians and artists. For five years in the early 1990’s Dan lived in a flat overlooking the park at the centre of the square, which he also helped redesign.

The brief

Dan’s aim was to create a garden which would provide an outdoor living space for his top floor flat, whilst referencing the surrounding urban roofscape and using plant species suited to this exposed and windy environment.

The design

Of primary importance was the weight-loading on the unreinforced Victorian roof structure, so all planters were cantilevered off the walls. The planting was all chosen to be drought and wind tolerant and included a lavender hedge, numerous Mediterranean herbs and grasses as well as a number of coastal species including broom, tamarisk, kniphofia and coyote willow.

Being invited up on to Dan Pearson’s roof garden is like entering a party where plants have taken the place of people. However…the cityscape beyond is secondary to more immediate pleasures: the willow seat, surrounded by galvanised pots brimming over with plants, or the topiary bird in its nest, invaded by morning glory and clematis. 

Rosie Atkins | The Telegraph Magazine

Since a roof garden is an entirely artificial environment, he capitalised by making constant reference to the surrounding roofscape. Chimney pots, lead flashings, slate roofs, even a bird’s nest and, of course, the sky itself, are all alluded to, often with great wit, always with affection. The optimism, imagination and sheer will required to nurture plants in a ‘groundless’ situation is somehow very poignant – a triumph of the human spirit over circumstance.

Diana Ross | Gardens Illustrated

Dan Pearson




Andrew Lawson