Detailed designs

July 2021

Here you will find the detailed designs as shared in July. These reflected feedback from the Autumn 2020 exhibition of the developing design ideas, building on the community priorities you told us were most important.

We invited you to participate and feedback through a variety of ways:

Open air exhibition
Meet the team in the Square
Design workshops

Creating a shared vision

The detailed designs we shared in July are grounded in the Community Priorities and reflected the feedback we'd received to date.

In 2020, we:

Redesigning Grosvenor Square

In response to the feedback received to date there are 4 main changes to the proposed design. It has evolved in other ways too, which you can read more about in the next sections.

Your feedback to date has helped guide the information we’re sharing with you today. It’s designed to test key elements of the detailed designs to reflect the priorities you have told us are important. It is split into 8 sections which you can see by clicking on the icons below.


Grosvenor Square has a fascinating history. It was hugely important for the developmentof Georgian London and was the first garden square to have an oval shape and soft landscaping. It was the centre of Anglo-American relations since the 18th Century and known as ‘Little America’ during WWII. After this it was redesigned to something similar to what we see today. Read more about the history of the square here.

Through engagement with the community and stakeholders including Historic England we’ve recognised that the developing designs shared last Autumn removed too much of the existing 20th century fabric. We are therefore proposing to retain and improve the existing fountains and reflect the North - South path that leads to the Roosevelt memorial.

We’ve also been carefully thinking about how to design around existing memorials. Within the gardens, historical structures such as the listed statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the listed Eagle Squadrons Memorial as well as the 9/11 Memorial Garden and Treaty of Paris inscription – neither of which are listed - are to be retained.

Arriving at the Square

In the Autumn, some people told us they wanted to see railings around the perimeter of the Square. We have taken this on board and are proposing to replace the wire mesh currently hidden in the hedges with a fence made from painted galvanised steel. There would be a green, protective edge that blends into the planting of the Shaded Garden, so that you can step from the city into the Square and immediately feel that sense of respite.

There would be robust gates at the entrances in the same style as the fence. The gates of the Square would still close at night, but we are proposing to extend the opening hours to 7am – 10pm (currently 8am– dusk / 8pm).


Shaded Garden

Around the edge of the Square would be a Shaded Garden with a meandering path that allows you to be immersed in nature. Along the paths would be a number of social ovals for people to meet and spend time.

We want to ensure these spaces are attractive, safe places to spend time and have been thinking about how different areas might be used based on factors such as their location and how much sun they receive. Let us know how you’d like to use them here.

The Shaded Garden provides an opportunity to introduce new ground cover, shrubs and treesto transform sterile lawns into a wider variety of habitats in the Square. Low mounds within the Shaded Garden, rising to 80cm such as the one shown in this sketch, would help to vary the height of this planting creating unique routes through the foliage and a more natural woodland experience.

Open Garden

In the centre of the Square would be the Open Garden, which will offer the open space that we know people value, whilst also referencing the historic aims to highlight its historic significance as the first Oval Square in London.

We are proposing to introduce a gradual mound that rises into the centre of the Open Garden, reaching 1.2m at its highest point to preserve the sightlines across the Square. This is designed to create a space for people to spend time resting, reading or socialising, as opposed to the Square becoming a shortcut between neighbouring streets. The paths around the Open Garden are therefore designed to encourage people to walk around the grass, rather than cut across it.

The 360° view shows what the Square could look like if you were standing along the path leading to the south east corner. Move your phone or touch the screen to look across to the open garden, up towards the gently rising mound. In the edges of the square you will see the social ovals within the shaded garden and in the distance you'll be able to make out the waterfall canopies at the western side of the Square. Read more about them here.

We recognise that the North – South link between the Roosevelt and Eagle Squadron memorials is of significance and considered four options to best represent it.

Small water rill
Stone pattern
Straight paving line with flowering plants
Straight paving line

The Story of Water

Water is an important part of the designs. We see it as both a resource and an opportunity to improve experience and wellbeing of people that use the Square.

Water will allow the structures in the Square to come alive with sound, texture, and movement. Located at the western side where the path meets the Open Garden, the two waterfall canopies would fill with water and bring the Square alive with sounds whilst the spaces below can be used for seating and shelter from the rain (or sun!). By collecting water at a height and encouraging it to travel down the canopy structure, as well as introducing an active pump system, the cascading water will create a sensory experience.

We know how important wetland habitats are for supporting wildlife, so are incorporating a wetland pond at the western end of the Open Garden. We are also creating swales (similar to a shallow channel or ridge) throughout the Shaded Garden which will catch surface run offand support different species of plants.

Planting & Trees

The planting choices have been carefully considered to create a variety of sensory experiences in the Square.

Arriving in the Square

Each corner of the Square provides an opportunity for people to step into nature from the busy streets.

There would be a diverse and beautiful mix of native flowering and fruiting trees, shrubs, vines, and climbers, enclosing the Square and providing a wonderful wildlife resource.

The Open Garden

The Open Garden retains an oval space in the centre of the Square, but it also contributes to species diversity through its flowering lawn.

For decades, gardeners and parks managers have been removing daisies and dandelions from our green spaces. We want to bring them back and fill the Open Garden with flowers that are as lovely for pollinators as they are for people.

Shaded Garden

The Shaded Garden would be an everchanging mosaic of woodland plants, wildflowers and ferns, with great seasonal interest throughout the year.

Scattered shrubs and small trees give height and structure, whilst aromatic plants around the social ovals would heighten your senses.

The Story of Water

As well as providing a home for new wildlife, the water habitats would make an important contribution to the water cycle and ecological functioning of the Square.

Native water and water-edge plants would be introduced to enhance the ecological value even further.

A beautiful feature will be the ring of blossom trees around the Oval Garden edge, and the outer boundary of the Square, which will ensure a long season of flowering, mixed with others with bold autumn leaves.

Structures & Furniture


Nestled under two large trees are the two buildings proposed at the south of the Square, close to the entrance.

These would provide amenities for people spending time here including a WC, which we know are currently lacking in the area. There would also be a small kiosk, similar to those provided by Royal Parks in places like Green Park and Hyde Park which sell drinks and snacks.

As well as a WC and kiosk there would be a Gardener’s Area and Education Space for activities and workshops that embrace the opportunity the redesign provides to learn about the environment.

The buildings would be made of timber and feature green roofs. This is to help them blend into the landscape and reduce the visual impact for neighbouring buildings.


In the social ovals within the Shaded Garden there will be a range of seats and table formations such as a long oval table or small oval platforms. The central oval bench made of high-quality stone that surrounds the Open Garden would more than double the number of seats that are currently available.


We have listened to your concerns about security andare proposing to incorporate subtle but effective lighting across the Square.

This would include:

  1. Low level lighting across the Shaded Garden, meaning a walk through after dark would be a beautiful and safe experience.

  2. A series of lighting spires across the Square varyingin height, with the tallest ones proposed at the cornerentrances and next to larger trees.

  3. Uplighters next to each of the heritage memorials so that they can be enjoyed after dark.

An intelligent time system would respond to seasonal lighting, optimise wildlife and planting, and minimise energy consumption. To minimise any light pollution to surrounding buildings, lighting would be directed towards specific areas within the Square rather than outside it; it would also be dimmed when the Square is closed.

Play & education

We received clear feedback that people wanted to see something more overtly playful in the Square. We’ve been working with play experts and natural play designers Davies White Ltd to help us work with children and families and explore different ways that play could be included.

Most people preferred play space to be stitched across the Square at various places in and around the social ovals in the Shaded Garden. Here we would:

“Embracing the educational opportunity” that the redesign of Grosvenor Square provides was identified as a Community Priority early in the process. Many of you recognised the potential for this environmentally-led design, in the heart of the West End, to provide educational benefit to local schools and communities.

We have started some fascinating conversations with environmental education experts, who believe that Grosvenor Square would offer a valuable contribution to get local young people closer to nature and learning about urban ecology.

We are currently working to better understand what the local need is, so we can design the best possible programme for nearby schools and organisations.

What happens next

Thank you to everyone who participated and provided feedback as part of the July programme of events. We will be reading and analysing these in detail to help inform the final designs. We'll share a summary on this website shortly but in the meantime please stay in touch.