The pop-up roof garden, designed by Garden Club London design director Tony Woods and built by John Lewis’ main contractor Conamar, features 250 firs, up to 3.5m tall, alongside birch and cornus (dog wood) to bring in different colours and stem interest. The trees are uplit for added drama and are situated around four bookable log cabins for cosy dining, seating four to eight people. The design keeps the kitchen garden from the summer garden.
The Christmas trees, from John Lewis supplier Premium Christmas Trees, are on-sale at the shop. Customers can order their trees on the roof garden, collect a wrapped tree to take home from the ground floor, have one delivered by courier or order their chosen tree later online. Previously the trees have only been available by telephone or online order.
Wood told Horticulture Week: "They are all premium grade trees, they are all really good quality. It’s a real one-stop shop now, you’ve got the food hall there too, so you can really smash Christmas in a day.
"The garden is a unique experience, even if you’ve never seen the Christmas ad, you’ve got a quality experience, it’s a winter woodland theme."
He added: "Installation was difficult given the location but because we’ve done it so many times before were really well versed in the logistics of it."
The garden was turned around in two weeks so it would be ready for the launch of annual John Lewis Christmas tear-jerker, which this year features a series of animals jumping on a trampoline bought and loving-constructed by the father of a little girl, who ends up looking on aghast as her bulldog takes her place on her present.
The high-budget production, launched on the John Lewis' website and social media channels and Sky, this morning and due to air for the first time on terrestrial television on ITV at 9.15pm, has become a much-anticipated annual event, partly due to the retailer’s investment in media spend, marketing and social media, and is seen as key to the department store’s retail success during its biggest sales period of the year.
Woods added: "In previous years John Lewis has always themed each garden with the advert but they now want it to be a permanent garden. In the summer we made it more of a classic garden, featuring three pop-up restaurants and with a garden. The idea is that the garden will develop into a permanent space which is always open to the public. It has been named The Gardening Society, and features a series of workshops and talks for people who want to learn more about gardening."
This year the winter season restaurant residency is hosted by London-based Scottish restaurant Mac and Wild which will serve seasonal British winter menus with an emphasis on Scottish favourites with a twist, as well as hold masterclasses on the roof.
Woods designed the first pop-up roof on the Oxford Street store in 2014 and has designed each incarnation since. This is his third Christmas pop-up garden. He interpreted last year’s Man on the Moon advert by creating a ‘moon garden’. "That was quite hard to do because we had to keep the advert under wraps. We used lots of metal sculptures, arches and telescope look-out points." This year was easier, he added.