Hare Court

Information on Hare Court planting renovation project 2016

*Update* 06/10/2016

Over the summer we have succcessfully completed the hardlanscaping element of the rennovation project. Planting will commence in mid-November, an ideal time for plants establish.

If you would like to be involved in the planting stage and have a couple of hours to spare please let us know.

The Inn is planning a new planting scheme to rejuvenate the look of the courtyard in Hare Court, whilst retaining some elements of the 2005/6 design.

Following our successful consultation with Residents and Tenants on the 12 April 2016 works are due to start on the 1 August, carried out by The Garden Company Ltd, and are due to be completed by the 7 October.

The Design Proposal

The design proposal for the renovation has been created by Andrea Brunsendorf, Head Gardener of Inner Temple and James Scott, Managing Director of The Garden Company.  James and his award winning company have a strong reputation in the industry and as they have undertaken a number of recent hard landscaping renovations in Inner Temple Garden they also have good knowledge of the Inn.

Hare Court is a planted courtyard in a historic setting, it has a network of old Purbeck stone paths and draining channels that date back to the era of the Great Fire of London. There are four birch trees which are symbolic of the four Hare brothers who were members of the Inn in the late 16th and early 17th century. The statue Justice by Tanya Russell was commissioned for the re-design in 2005/6 and unveiled in 2010. There is a successful Sarcococca hedge on the lower side of the courtyard (by 5 & 6 Pump Court and 1 Hare Court). The new design intends to leave all the preceding features.

The current design, although functional from an access point of view, does not particularly engage with the members of Chambers and residents or encourage exploration. The proposed solution is to construct a sinuous path that will connect all the areas (in addition to the existing paths). This will create a more pleasing geometry and allow the user to wander into new planting areas. The path will be variable in width and widen to accommodate seating areas and a larger terrace area near the sculpture. The courtyard will not be used for commercial events but the terrace will create a quiet area for users of the surrounding buildings for coffee and lunch breaks.

The planting will be denser and lusher on slightly mounded contours which will create further interest. The upper area (near to 3 Hare Court, 1 & 2 Dr Johnsons Building and Quadrant Chambers) will have planting tolerant of drier sunnier conditions, as the planting progresses to the lower area (near to 2 Hare Court, 3 Dr Johnsons Building and Pump Court Building) it will become more shade tolerant and reminiscent of woodland edge planting.

We invited Members of Chambers and Residents to discuss the design proposal for the renovation project at a consultation with Master of the Garden, Patricia Robertson QC, Members of the Garden Committee, Head Gardener, Andrea Brunsendorf and Managing Director of The Garden Company, James Scott on 21 April 2016.

Summary of Discussion:

Residents & Members concerned that new design would increase traffic and use of the space that may cause noise disturbance, or potentially be used for commercial hire in the future.

o    Design is intended to encourage better use and enjoyment of the space.  A more beautiful environment should evoke the generally respectful and peaceful usage that is found in the main garden and Elm Court.  To the extent that any signage is necessary to remind users of the need for quiet we will seek to make this attractive.
o    Softer and denser planting will help to absorb any noise as it is currently prone to heavy echoes.
o    The terraced area (6m 2) is too small for large gatherings and is not intended for informal parties or commercial hire.

Residents & Members raised concerns over maintenance:

o    During establishing period the garden team will be tending to the courtyard every other day for irrigation and tending.
o    Seasonal tidying and maintenance of beds will be scheduled.
o    It is important to note that initial plating will be done using plants in 9cm pots for more successful establishment. These could take up to two years to achieve full ground cover.  It is therefore important to appreciate that the full effect will not be achieved immediately but that there are good horticultural reasons for starting with small plants rather than going for a “Ground-Force” style instantaneous effect.

The uniqueness and desirable micro-climate of Hare Court was highlighted and a desire to see adventurous planting expressed.
o    Andrea and James are keen to include coppiced Betula nigra ‘Little King’, ornamental grasses, ferns and Jerusalem sage, as suggested by residents, as they will adhere to the contemporary and clean planting scheme. Plants will need to be able to cope with shade, strong sun and limited irrigation whilst forming a cohesive planting design.

Estimated Schedule

Start: Monday 1 August
Completion: Friday 7 October

1 August -19 August: The first three to four weeks of work will be for site preparation, ground excavation and installation of compacted substances. (Please be aware that machinery such as mini diggers will be used during this phase).

22 August– 9 September: Proposed time span for laying new brick pathways, seating areas and edges.

12 September – 7 October: The final phase of the project will comprise of the back filling of excavated areas and beds, the grading of planting areas, planting up borders followed by time allowed for final clearance, tidying and completion.

Hare Court Masterplan