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

The Breakers Yard garden at Sutton House, Hackney

In the heart of Hackney sits an award-winning garden that just ten years ago was an industrial wasteland. Today, the Breaker’s Yard at Sutton House is the ideal place to escape, recharge your batteries and enjoy the beauty of nature.

While the children get their heads down back at school, the garden comes into its own as an oasis of calm, 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.

On a cloudless day, the garden is the perfect suntrap to catch some rays, relax with a book or take a power-nap.

The cafe inside Sutton House is close by and you are welcome to enjoy refreshments outside. As much as it’s a space that can be enjoyed alone, the Breaker's Yard and the house's inner courtyard garden offer plenty of space to enjoy with family, friends or colleagues.

Whatever draws you in, you can be sure you’ll want to soak up a fascinating past and spot many unique and surprising features.

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 is an up-cycler’s dream. It’s made from scrap caravans from the 1970s and is kitted out with items salvaged from stately homes. It’s quirky on the outside, sumptuous on the inside.

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. Crafted from 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, whilst offering a place to relax or enjoy good company.

Like Sutton House, this quirky, playful 'pocket park' has many twists and turns, all waiting to be discovered.

Visitors can use Sutton House and Breaker’s Yard garden whenever the house is open, 12pm-5pm, Wednesday-Sunday. It is wheelchair accessible with the entrance via the house. Entry is free for National Trust members, with standard adult entry to the house and garden costing £10, for adult groups £6 per person and £4 for children.

" 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