Refurbishment & Landscaping

Driveways and pathways alteration, Phillimores & Academy Gardens, Kensington, London, UK

The customer

Phillimores - Academy Gardens. The former Queen’s Elisabeth College, which celebrated in 2016 its 108 years. Established in 1908 as King’s College for Women, the institution was specialising in nutritional, physical and biological science. In the late 80s the imposing building, located in Camden Hill St in Kensington was transformed into a block of 67 luxury apartments. Nowadays Academy Gardens is one of the top listed properties in South Kensington.

The challenge

Working in a residential area is not just a construction project. This is because you have not only to comply to the site rules but also to the resident’s privacy and comfort.

Working in this direction, our task was not only to organise, implement and deliver all works ensuring that all architectural specifications and deadlines are met, but also doing all these in a way that would have the least effect in the residents everyday life.

The client’s requirements were the replacement of all the existing driveway and pathway surfaces, a wall repositioning and a solution for the surface water drainage of the garden’s turf. 

Acting as the contractor our main duty was to implement the initial design. However, in several occasions, using our engineering expertise, we proposed alternative solutions to optimise the design. These proposals were accepted by both the architect and the client and contributed to the successful project delivery.

The Works

  • Replacement of existing resin surface of driveways with Granite Setts

  • Replacement of existing resin surface of pathways with York Stone

  • Repositioning of a 16m long brick wall

  • Installation of a drainage system in the 1000 m2 garden

Key Features

The project’s commencement was on September and the estimated duration

The first obstacle that we found was to determine the new levels. It was the client’s requirement that the driveway should be raised to reach the level of the surrounding pathways. In order to do this we had to lift all the existing kerbs, that work as a frame for the driveways, and re bed them to concrete to suit the new levels. For that scope, our experienced engineering team using our topographic instruments determined the new levels ensuring that all slopes would lead to the desired water flow.  

Another obstacle that we had to overcome was to determine the granite setts sub base. The initial plan was to lay the setts on top of the existing surface, a plan that was quickly aborted as the resin is flexible and therefore not suitable for sub base. The only solution then was to remove the existing surface and replace it with a rigid one. This would have obviously a great impact on the time schedule and the project’s budget. Having concluded in this solution we managed to rip off the resin and install a reinforced concrete slab within three days mitigating the cost of the above mentioned effect.


Architect: SBdesign


Project Specifics

Client: Private

Sector: Residential

Project Type: Landscaping

Scope: Build

Build Time: 3 months

Location: South Kensington, London