A few years ago I shifted from formal to a more relaxed kind of garden: I like soft shapes, profusion of flowers; if I need to use hedges, I like to shape them in a sculptural form. I am not fond in controlling the garden too much: I find beauty in a certain level of freedom. But despite to what I might like, my design process is based on listening carefully to what my clients wish and what they would like to achieve.
When I had my first meeting for this project, the client showed up with a very organized mood board that included a large collection of pictures of formal gardens. Once listened to his brief I went back to the office, gathered ideas and put them together in a “counter” mood board. Sometimes clients need to see something that they have never considered before to know that they might like it. In this case I wanted to show that it was possible to achieve a certain degree of formality by designing a less structured gardens. The final result would feel warmer and more interesting than just layers of green hedges.
For this garden I imagined a transition from a front garden, more formal, to a back garden where the atmosphere is more relaxed and soft. Front and back are linked thanks to the use of masses of vegetation pruned in a spherical shape.
But the inspiration for the project came from the request of a 25 m long pool: it’s like an ocean in the garden (!) and it made me think to ‘my’ Mediterranean sea. I spent all my summers in a small coastal town called Stintino, where the sea is particularly beautiful due to the different colours of the seabed: water goes from turquoise to deep blue to green. That’s why, for re creating this different shades in the water, I imagined to have green marble stripes at the bottom of the pool, made out of ‘Verde Guatemala’. The stripes come out of the pool and become garden beds all along the side garden and a sunken area in the front where I am planning to grow Convallaria japonica.
As mentioned, the front would be more formal: a few Pyrus calleriana ‘Chanticleer’ would provide privacy from the street, while Buxus hedge and sperical masses of vegetation would create a simple formal garden. In the back garden, the spherical elements are planted underneath a majestic existing gumtree. The formality disappear in favor of a relaxed composition of perennial and evergreen shrubs.