The Off-Street Parking That Revolutionizes Front Gardens

Photography by Steven Wooster

The Porsche Garden by John Warland and Sim Flemons. Off-street parking consumes large portions of front gardens in cities, through paving or the building of a garage. Why don’t we use that surface to connect with nature instead of losing it to cars? A family from west London faced the dilemma in an amazing and not very common way. Their front garden had plenty of possibilities to be a really nice place, but they wanted to keep their car secure there as well. It was the perfect moment to contact Flemons Warland Design for professional advice. Parking vs. Garden Jonh Warland and Sim Flemons thought outside the box, and their concept sketches were focused on an innovative idea: How about designing a garden with a secret underground garage accessible only when needed? The whole outdoor surface would be available for people´s enjoyment, while the car´s security and storage requirements would be attended to. This sounds nice, doesn’t it?


Car space, what car space? Photography by Steven Wooster

Fortunately, the designers found a technology that could accomplish that in a tested and environmentally friendly way. Then they supported their project with a Cardock system, a special kind of lift developed to revolutionize city parking areas. Revealing the Trick Basically, the main idea consists of a buried container that works as a garage accessible by a down-up movement platform — there are two mobile platforms, one for the roof of the garage, which is at the same time part of the garden’s ground, and a lower one, where the car is parked. Deep trays of till — 50mm — are fitted on the platforms to cover a range of finishes. So through a careful design, any garage could be as unnoticeable as this when it is closed. You probably think about possible problems, such as rain, power interruptions, or maintenance, but this garage has been projected to the highest standards. Maybe the main risk could be that you forget it is there.

Just raising, car will be ready soon. Photography by Steven Wooster

Garden Design Keys The designers had the freedom to create a beautiful garden without making their decisions influenced by the garage; the only condition was how to integrate the rectangular piece of ground that contains the lift. Warland and Flemons used geometry as key factor. They proposed a series of gravel-paved walkways in a symmetric grid, and added squares massively planted with hedges among them. In one of those paths, we find a stylish water fountain and two small squares breaking the uniformity of the base order. You would never guess that a lift is hidden here.

Photography by Steven Wooster

The surrounding walls include another surprising feature: stacked log walls. These reduce dust and noise levels and provide urban wildlife with a new habitat. Running the Unusual Garage The Cardock system provided the magic touch that the Porsche Garden needed. Daily use of the garage does not seem to be more inconvenient than using a conventional one. You only need to depress a button on the remote control and, 30 seconds later, the platform will be completely raised by a silent hydraulic system and your car will be in view and ready to be driven. The dimensions of the garage are very tight, to standard car´s sizes: 2.4 meters by 5.4 meters wide and 2 meters high, so the land´s use is really sustainable.
Photography by Steven Wooster

And we’re good to go. Photography by Steven Wooster

The Porsche Garden won the gold medal in the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in 2008, putting to work an alternative solution from the industrial field with private garden design. Could you imagine how that would transform the image of the streets in cities? Recommended reading:  The Garden Source: Inspirational Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes by Andrea Jones Private Paradise: Contemporary American Gardens by Charlotte M. Frieze Article written by Elisa Garcia

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