Louis Benech.

A stately chateau gar­den in the Loire Val­ley is a tri­umph of di­ver­sity, be­ing equally ex­cit­ing and nur­tur­ing, dis­play­ing the re­mark­able tal­ent of land­scape de­signer

Belle - - Bali Home - Pho­to­graphs RICHARD POW­ERS Words GE­ORGINA REID

From the chateau the lawn steps down in a se­ries of sloped ter­races to a large oval pool. Be­neath this is a se­ries of pools, linked by a graphic canal de­signed in the form of a Greek fret mo­tif. “I found a sim­i­lar sort of canal on old maps of the es­tate and I wanted to re­make it, not out of re­spect for his­tory or a de­sire to recre­ate what used to be here, but rather to re-es­tab­lish the way things used to work, the way wa­ter used to cir­cu­late,” Benech tells Eric Jansen in the book Louis Benech: Twelve French Gar­dens.

While the end ef­fect of the de­sign is one of bold sim­plic­ity, the site re­quired ex­ten­sive sculpt­ing in order to achieve this. “This is a marshy area, with springs every­where, so we had to do a lot of drainage work,” Benech says. “The slopes were al­tered to make them more ac­ces­si­ble to trac­tors and eas­ier to mow.”

Benech is known for his fo­cus on main­te­nance, an im­por­tant trait in a land­scape de­signer. “With­out proper main­te­nance, a gar­den can be a wreck in two min­utes,” Benech told Ar­chi­tec­tural Di­gest. “There are wrecks that I adore, of course, but I want my gar­dens to last more than two min­utes … It’s best to be quiet and gen­tle in the de­sign of a gar­den, be­cause then you don’t need a lot of ef­fort to keep it up.”

De­sign­ing a gar­den be tting a prop­erty of such scale, his­toric and ar­chi­tec­tural value is no mean feat. Benech has achieved this, and more, with this two-sided gar­den. On one side of the chateau the gar­den looks in­wards; it’s nur­tur­ing, pro­tected and en­closed. On the other side, the gar­den looks out; it’s vast, ex­cit­ing and in­spir­ing. Two of the most im­por­tant roles of a gar­den are to pro­vide shel­ter and to in­spire. Great gar­dens, like Louis Benech’s Do­maine de la Balive, do both.

For more go to louis­benech.com. Visit Ge­orgina Reid’s web­site, the plan­thunter.com.au.

This page The graphic de­sign of the wa­ter canal which links sev­eral large pools on the prop­erty was in­spired by a tra­di­tional Greek fret mo­tif. Op­po­site page, from top Lush plant­ings of ow­er­ing shrubs such as hy­drangeas and roses pro­vide the owner with a

This page, clock­wise from above On all sides of the prop­erty forests stretch as far as the eye can see. Benech has sen­si­tively carved spa­ces into the wood­land, beau­ti­fully in­te­grat­ing the de­signed and nat­u­ral land­scapes. The sim­ple and el­e­gant de­sign. The

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.