‘Mind, Body and Spirit’, Benest


Following the successful creation of their ‘Arabesque’ garden, this well-travelled couple asked me to create for them a second garden on their additional 208m2 plot.

The plot is bathed in sun for the majority of the day, something the other garden is not, and the couple wanted to embrace this opportunity to the full by creating spaces to read, relax and sunbathe. The garden is surrounded by neighbouring properties and so needs a degree of shelter from view, but the client also wants to retain the views out into the countryside. A climate-conscious, drought-tolerant planting and minimal water use long term are essential.


In contrast to their other heavily structured and quite formal garden, this garden offers informality, softness, texture and naturalism, embracing the softness and informality of the fields that encircle it. There are no structures on the plot to inform the shapes and layout of the area, but the northern boundary of the commune is dictated by the course of the Charente river and so I have used a simplified and stylised version of the river’s course, albeit inverted and rotated, to form the backbone of the structure of the garden and the journey through it.

Paths will lack any formal edging material and it is the planting itself that shall define the course taken through the garden, creating an imagined desire line of sorts leading to the three seating areas that the space has to offer; a semi-shaded pergola area, a central bespoke dining area beneath a large pine tree acting as a natural parasol, and a sunlounging area that enjoys views out of the garden and into the countryside beyond.

Seating area surfaces will be created using ‘crazy’ limestone paving, which breaks up and blends into the limestone gravel paths as if to suggest the remains of a previous building situated on the plot. The planting beds themselves will also be gravelled in limestone for cohesion and as a mulch for planting.

The planting choices and arrangement will be suggestive of a glade or opening within a larger garigue or native woodland edge.

Construction is due to begin in Autumn 2023, with planting to be undertaken in two phases to minimise the irrigation necessary for the establishment of new trees and shrubs and to allow reoccuring weeds to be tackled without risking damage to the herbaceous planting that will follow.

Progress will be shared via my Instagram account.