Paizay-Naudouin-Embourie, Charente

Brief:

This is a walled garden on the edge of a village, with fields and a chateau just beyond. The clients had lived in this property for all of a week by the time they had asked me to produce a garden concept for them. However, they knew they wanted a natural pool and they wanted a naturalistic planting that was not just restricted to tiny borders around the perimeter of the garden and that connects with the landscape beyond.

The garden is to cater for all age groups, as well as the family dogs and cats. The clients thought it might be fun to have a space where they can play pétanque with friends. The garden perimeter wall houses an old bread oven. The boundary on the right is overlooked by neighbours’ properties. The garden is much wider than it is long.

Design:

The design challenge was to imagine how the space would be used when it has never been used by the family before.

The main view out of the house onto the garden visually connects with the area beside the bread oven. By creating a seating area beneath a pergola and connecting those two spaces by a main path unifies the garden, brings the spaces together, visually stretches the space and brings the planting into the middle. It also lends itself to a space in which to play the occasional game of pétanque. Choice of materials reflects the local stone of the properties and the slate roofs of the neighbouring chateau.

From right to left the planting begins with a simple and graphic planting of a singular species of native grass contrasted against a low hedge and mixed shrub/tree planting behind to diffuse the view of neighbours. As the planting moves across to the middle of the garden there are raised corten beds (raised to reuse spoil from the garden build) that flank the main path and add drama and seasonal dynamism, further left a lawn for play and on the far left the lawn becomes a low maintenance meadow space planted with natives and near natives.

Species of trees and shrubs planted naturalistically throughout the garden are selected to sit harmoniously with the woodlands beyond the garden.

The front garden is primarily a parking space, but this area will be of a different character and have its own identity. The plastic pond will be removed and replaced with spoil from the rear garden build and a mediterranean gravel style garden created to welcome visitors to the property. Corten planters will be positioned by the property and planted with architectural planting to signify the main entrances.

This project is currently in the planning phase, with construction and planting expected to be completed by the end of 2022. I will be showing this garden’s progress through my instagram account.