Hackney parking spaces get a green makeover

Landscape architect Emily Assheton is turning unused parking spaces into gardens. Image: Emily Assheton

Community “parklet” gardens have been springing up in Hackney as residents are converting parking spaces outside their homes into green gardens.

Work is set to begin this week on at least one of the 15 projects given council funding as part of the parklet programme to repurpose parking spaces for community use of green space rather than storing cars.

Landscape architect and grant winner Emily Assheton, 26, said: “I am very pleased to have been selected in the top fifteen with my neighbour Phillippa Banister”.

Assheton said building work on her garden, in Hackney Downs, begins on Saturday, with the plants and soil following next week.

Assheton was one of 15 gardeners who won a council grant thanks to her design. Image: Emily Assheton

Assheton and Banister have set up a funding page to raise the remaining £300 needed to fund the initiative on top of the £250 granted by the council.

The council said: “Approximately 70% of our residents do not own a vehicle, yet the side of the kerb remains dominated by parking”.

In a separate development, Hackney has welcomed its first “postcode” gardner who will take up a post with Friends of the Earth helping locals make their gardens greener. The aim of the postcode gardener model is to make urban spaces greener.

Kate Poland, who has taken up the role as part of the “10xGreener” initiative, said: “You do not need to be a dedicated gardener… There are simple and practical ways to make a front garden look great and be a real boost for nature.”

Nearly £8,000 has been crowdfunded in support of the initiative since Poland took up the job.

You can help Assheton and Banister in their quest to turn Hackney’s streets from grey to green by donating via their funding page.

By Bethany Papworth and Alex Pattle