It’s been twenty years since Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts fell in love in an idyllic west London that never really existed apart from in Richard Curtis’s imagination. It’s also been twenty years since the now-famous Notting Hill scene when they break into a garden square. But, although the original blue door and travel bookshop are long gone, replaced by souvenir shops and tourist-attracting replicas, one thing has remained: the craze that Notting Hill started for living next to a garden square.
English Heritage say that there are more than 600 garden squares in London, and recent research by luxury property website Vyomm has uncovered that homes next to them (with access to said gardens) are now valued at almost double that of houses the next street over. Properties around some of London’s most popular squares in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster now average about £5.1 million, £2.1 million more than their next door neighbours.
Living next to London’s most expensive garden square, Carlton House Terrace Gardens (above), will cost you an average of £11.3 million, £5.2 million more than nearby properties in the post code. Wilton Crescent Garden and Eaton Square in Belgravia are the next popular, costing around £7 million and £6.1 million respectively for a house on the squares – and around 100 per cent more than properties without access. Rosemead Garden, which is actually the square featured in Notting Hill, has an average house price of £3.6 million.
But it’s not just the traditional Georgian squares of west London that are attracting so much interest from buyers. The ongoing popularity of garden squares is also shaping the London of the future, with new developments across the city including them in their blueprints. What’s more, new flats with communal gardens are also a solution for families who want green spaces, but would otherwise be priced out of London.
Battersea Roof Gardens (above), the new Norman Foster project underway at Battersea Power Station, has a 1200 foot long garden designed by James Corner, the landscape architect behind New York’s High Line linear park and the Olympic Park planting. The HKR Hoxton building, due to open in 2020 in east London, will have a landscaped garden terrace on its 5th floor for residents, offering panoramic views of the City and Canary Wharf alongside landscaped greenery and an on-site gym.
On the more accessible end, Elephant Park, part of the Elephant & Castle regeneration project, is based around a two acre park, the largest new green space in central London for 70 years. Residents of the South Gardens, the part of the development that features three and four-bedroom townhouses, will also have their own communal courtyards with landscaped gardens and playgrounds for children. Over is south west London, Cambium Gardens, the focal point of new Wimbledon development Cambium, is a communal garden with a wild meadow, based around a 200-year-old oak tree believed to have been planted by Capability Brown.
So, if your next property purchase ends up having a garden square, you know who to thank: Richard Curtis.