A resilient garden inspired by the hills of the Luberon region, in southern France, and designed to cope with warmer summers and less predictable weather changes.
Winter temperatures in the Luberon hills regularly fall below freezing, while summers usually see them soaring into the 40 degrees celsius, with one or even two months of drought. In spring, the Mistral wind finds its way up the valleys, whipping plants about, and late autumn brings torrential downpours.
The brief for this project, in a region sharing similar climate conditions, was to transform a tired, high-maintenance area of lawn into a vibrant, colourful and sustainable space capturing the essence of the Luberon hills.
The new design would also turn the area into a hub connecting various parts of the garden, while also being a space to be enjoyed in its own right, with appropriate seating to be positioned to take in the views.
In design terms, this involved connecting a path winding through a small wooded area to the side of the house, to a sunny, semi-exposed upper terrace with views across the fields. It would also become a destination point from a lower terrace and provide an access route to the kitchen garden.
At the top of the path, a bench provides a stop-over point from which the owners can take in the views over the new garden. A few small trees act as focal points, drawing visitors around the garden, while also providing shade in the summer and shelter from the wind.
Further on, a new gazebo with seating provides a vantage point with views across the fields.
The naturalistic planting offers an extended season of interest, starting in early spring with colourful bulbs including species tulips and alliums, followed by camassias.
It continues through the summer and into the autumn with late-flowering perennials, many of which will go on to showcase dramatic seedheads into winter.
A range of rounded or domed evergreen shrubs of different heights provide year-round presence, in various shades of green, blue and grey, some with bright glossy foliage and others with small matt leaves.
These also provide a contrasting backdrop for upright or bushy perennials and dancing grasses.
All the plants selected are drought resistant and are repeated throughout, sometimes as different cultivars, to provide harmony and consistency to the design.
The colour palette ranges from blues and purples at the western end of the garden, with dashes of pink on the north side, moving to predominantly whites and yellows towards the eastern end.
Project status: completed