‘Unter der Linde’, Paizay-Naudouin-Embourie, Charente

Brief:

This is a walled garden on the edge of a village, with fields and a chateau just beyond it. 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 grasses to envelop the pool and give it a calming atmosphere. Chanticleer pears are strategically placed near the boundary to diffuse the neighbours’ view. As the planting moves across to the middle of the garden there are beds that add rich colours, drama and seasonal dynamism to the space. A central allée is flanked by Amelanchiers. Further left a lawn for play, which becomes a low maintenance meadow space planted with natives and near natives. Far left additional perennial planting is set beneath a repetition of the trees planted along the right boundary, albeit in a line to draw the eye to the scenery beyond the garden.

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

The front garden is primarily a parking space, but this area is of a different character to the rear space and so I have given it a different identity. The plastic pond and surrounding stone has been removed and replaced with a mediterranean gravel style garden created to welcome visitors to the property. The limestone path that has broken and moved over the years has been relaid and repointed with lime mortar to make the space safer to walk. Crumbling stone seating has been replaced with a durable corten steel and wood floating bench. Oversized corten steel planters are positioned to signify the property’s entranceways and planted with Olives. Stainless steel rope trellis has been installed to support and train the existing wisteria across the façade of the house.

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