Last weekend I took inspiration while strolling along the Southbank in London. A bright yellow spiral staircase invites you to go up onto a roof garden with great views of London.

Located between the Southbank Centre and The Queen Elizabeth Hall, a true gem is hidden away amongst grey and cold concrete walls, The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden

http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/festival-of-love/installations/roof-garden

There is a cafe and bar which invites you to sit down on a lawn – artificial but very real looking.

Raised beds filled with very authentic meadow planting including Hazel and Birches, surround the cafe and lead the way towards a proper allotment with real vegetables (watch and learn) and, even more hidden away in an underpass there is a woodland garden.

Amazing what can be achieved in such a small inner city space.

A gallery of wildlife flowers explains it all to the city dweller.

To be honest, I felt very much at home here, despite wanting to escape the country for a few hours.

Walking further towards Tate Modern another source of inspiration for me is a new apartment block development called NEO Bankside – by Rogers, Stirk Harbour Architects.

A series of garden spaces surround and connect the apartment pavilions using native woodland plants, creating a very peaceful and elegant atmosphere. Some corners are very Zen inspired, others look very naturalistic encouraging residents to engage with nature in this ueber-urban setting.

Look at the paving and how it drifts into the planting.

For more information about the bio diversity of the design look at

http://www.neobankside.com/development/landscaping