DREAM GAR­DEN

Large vol­canic stones, cas­cad­ing pools and nat­u­ral­is­tic plant­ing form a crisp con­tem­po­rary gar­den carved into a hill­side in Lux­em­bourg

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS -

Vol­canic stones, cas­cad­ing pools and nat­u­ral­is­tic plant­ing.

DESIGNER PRO­FILE Peter Berg and his busi­ness part­ner, Su­sanne Förster, founded their land­scape de­sign com­pany, Garten­land­schaft in Sinzig, Ger­many, in 2000. They have since won many awards in Ger­many and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries for their nat­u­ral­is­tic, mod­ern schemes. Peter is also the au­thor of sev­eral books on gar­den de­sign.

WHO OWNS THE GAR­DEN AND WHAT WAS THE BRIEF?

The hill­side gar­den be­longs to an ar­chi­tect and his wife, whose new-build house is ad­ja­cent to a vine­yard, near the Moselle River. Our brief was to ter­race the gar­den us­ing stone, so that it com­ple­mented and of­fered views over the sur­round­ing coun­try­side. The cou­ple also wanted a pond for their koi carp and a space to con­nect with na­ture.

WHAT IN­FLU­ENCED YOUR DE­SIGN?

This scheme was in­spired by the beau­ti­ful vine­yards and land­scape of the re­gion. We also had to work with the ter­rain – the house is built on a steep hill that drops down twenty feet from the back to the front. I have al­ways ad­mired Japanese gar­dens, and one of our team is from Ky­oto, so many of our land­scapes are in­flu­enced by Japanese de­sign and the Eastern phi­los­o­phy of creat­ing peace and har­mony through na­ture. Here, we have used large vol­canic rocks as step­ping stones through the space; it is a Japanese idea that fea­tures in many of my de­signs.

HOW HAVE YOU BLENDED THE GAR­DEN INTO THE COUN­TRY­SIDE?

The plant­ing here is de­signed to cre­ate har­mony be­tween the gar­den and land­scape. Us­ing a range of shrubs and peren­ni­als of dif­fer­ent sizes, we have tried to blend one with the other with­out block­ing the view from the deck. The plants are in many shades of green, which match the vines and trees just be­yond the bound­aries, and also the green­ish-blue tone of the river, which can be seen in the dis­tance. How­ever, in au­tumn, ev­ery­thing changes, with many of the shrubs and trees turn­ing fiery shades of red and yel­low and re­flect­ing the vines, which are putting on a colour­ful show at this time of year. I have also cre­ated a spe­cial pal­ette of blue and white flow­er­ing plants to echo the colours of the sky.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE WATER FEA­TURE?

We set one pool in the deck­ing area that was deep enough for the koi carp, and built two oth­ers at dif­fer­ent lev­els to form a small cas­cade, adding a dy­namic el­e­ment to the de­sign. The pool walls are faced with schist stone and topped with cop­ing that is wide enough to sit on, pro­vid­ing a great van­tage point for ad­mir­ing the fish.

DO YOU HAVE ANY AD­VICE FOR CREAT­ING NAT­U­RAL­IS­TIC GAR­DENS?

I like to fuse mod­ern ar­chi­tec­tural styling, seen here in the ge­o­met­ric­shaped deck and water fea­ture, with nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, such as the rugged gran­ite and nat­u­ral wood. I then weave de­cid­u­ous trees, shrubs, grasses and peren­ni­als around these el­e­ments to soften the edges and cre­ate a land­scape that mir­rors na­ture. In ad­di­tion, I use plants for bees and wildlife habi­tats, such as ferns, dif­fer­ent types of salvia and thyme, while the grasses, in­clud­ing Pen­nise­tum and Mis­cant­hus, also pro­vide food and shel­ter for wildlife.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO USE NAT­U­RAL STONE IN A GAR­DEN?

To cre­ate a mod­ern rock gar­den, I would in­clude stones of dif­fer­ent sizes. Very large rocks can be used as re­tain­ing walls in hilly gar­dens like this, help­ing to keep the soil in place. We have also laid large flat stones to make an in­for­mal stair­way from the front to the back of the gar­den, and smaller ones to cre­ate rocky out­crops in the planted ar­eas. I visit the quarry to choose the ex­act stones I want, and make a plan be­fore­hand so that I know pre­cisely what I am look­ing for and the func­tion each stone will play in the de­sign.

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