Breaker’s Yard at Sutton House: A garden like no other

The Breakers Yard garden at Sutton House, Hackney

Adjacent to Sutton House sits an award-winning garden that just ten years ago was an industrial wasteland. Today, the Breaker’s Yard is the ideal place enjoy the beauty of nature, where the bees are the only signs of a busy life.

Container garden for wildlife

Insects and birds are attracted to the Breaker’s Yard's small orchard, as well as the flowering buddleia and pots of edibles including herbs, fruits and flowers. The apple trees are native to the south east and many plants were selected because of their ability to grow in containers and poor soil.

A peacock butterfly
A peacock butterfly (Inachis io) feeding on buddleia bush
A peacock butterfly

Tropical backdrop for the last of the season’s sun

In the 18th century, Hackney was known for its hothouses, including the largest in the world at that time. These indoor tropical rainforests housed an enormous variety of tropical plants, and many of the plants in the garden here are inspired by that time, including palms and bamboo.

Hidden historic gems

The clue to the garden’s history is in its name; it was once a car-breaker’s yard.

Originally belonging to a neighbouring property, the space was offered to Sutton House on the condition it would become a garden. If the yard had remained private many views of the house and its beautiful Tudor brickwork and architectural features would have remained hidden from sight.

In 2011, the vision to transform the scrapyard into a community garden began. Thousands of local people and specialists were consulted for their ideas, skills and local knowledge. The final design was by award-winning RHS landscape designer Daniel Lobb, and it took three years to complete.

The space has been transformed, but the yard’s former history is still celebrated. ‘The Grange’ is a quirky two-storey caravan and an up-cycler’s dream. It’s made from scrap caravans from the 1970s and is kitted out with items salvaged from stately homes (not accessible during Covid restrictions).

Inside the Grange Caravan at Sutton House Breaker's Yard
VIew inside the Grange Caravan at Sutton House Breaker's Yard
Inside the Grange Caravan at Sutton House Breaker's Yard

Other features are the bespoke gates that lead the eye to the public road outside and the surrounding conservation area. These were crafted with more than 1,000 toy cars, many of them made by Matchbox in Hackney.

The Breaker’s Yard seamlessly connects people with nature and design with history.

The Breaker’s Yard is wheelchair accessible and can be enjoyed on one of our guided tours.

" The space was transformed from a scrapyard into a community garden. Local people shared ideas and the final design was by award-winning RHS landscape designer Daniel Lobb. "
- Sutton House Breaker's Yard