Contemporary Mediterranean Garden
Location: Somerset West
Completed: December 2018
BRIEF: Leoni and Steve simply wanted a garden that they could enjoy spending time in and were able to entertain in. They needed a very restful place to come home to and relax in. Their style is fuss free simplicity and they liked the idea of a Mediterranean theme.
CHALLENGES: Uneven steps, paving that was inappropriate for outdoor use, chaotic, overgrown planting areas, no particular theme or style, struggling lawn in the shade, disconnected areas.
Terrace area: We chopped up and recreated the steps, chopped out the paving on the top terrace and covered it with gravel which then extended into the surrounding planting areas, unifying it as a as a stone-mulched gravel garden.
Facing walls and water feature were clad and topped in slate which changed the feeling completely, giving it a timeless, grounded, stately feel. We used a palette of cool colours throughout - grey/ silver, white, blue and purple - for the restfulness it brings and connection to the lavender coloured exterior walls.
We installed a pergola for Wisteria to climb and a matching heavy-duty, 3m reclaimed wood table and benches for summer al fresco living.
Lawn area: The lawn was levelled and edged with cobbles in a large, pleasingly symmetrical square and connected to other areas with pathways.
Front entrance: A Koi pond and deck walkway were installed to which we added water plants and a block bench for watching fish as well as de-cluttering and upgrading the planting. An LED strip light below the deck improves safety and creates an exciting effect at night (see picture box, left).
Playing with light
The best thing for me about this garden is the atmospheric quality of light created by very tall trees around the perimeter.
It results in stark contrasts of deep shade backgrounds and contrasting spot-lit foreground. I played with this by using perennial plant species which catch the light, such as grasses and butterfly bush.
This backlit, luminous effect (see picture box, top) adds another layer to the sense of secluded inner sanctuary-space.