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the retreat contemplative garden design

the retreat


The Retreat is inspired by 'Cigarrales', old mansion houses typical of Toledo, Spain.

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The project is located in a very hot region, with the use of the outdoor space being quite limited during the summer months. 

For this reason, shade was a key element along with water.

The garden already had two mature pine trees, that were kept to provide structure and shade. They also release many pine needles, that are cleverly disguised and lost in the planting of  Festuca glauca.

This garden is enclosed by four walls and doesn't have views to the village at floor level. The views don't travel far ahead, but stay within the garden and up to the sky.  

The layout aims to create a journey from the house to the 'Alberca' or raised water rill where the shade of the tres and the protection of the cypress create a very inviting and quiet space.

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The Alberca is raised 40 cm above the ground so that you can sit on the edge and dip your feet inside.

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The planting had to include very tough and drought tolerant species that could offer a display but also be in harmony with the local flora. 

Two new trees species were introduced:  Cupressus sempervirens “Totem” and Cercis siliquastrum. 

To divide the space a hedge of Ligustrum vulgare was added on both side of the herbaceous planting to create more shade.

For the herbaceous planting the idea was to create big masses of only a few species to make it more dramatic and simplify the maintenance.

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From left-up corner: Santolina chamaecyparissus, Nasela tenuissima and Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna', Cupressus sempervirens 'Totem', Festuca glauca, Lavandula angustifolia 'Artic snow', Achillea 'Moonshine', Jasminum officinale, Centaurea cinerea and Nasella tenuissima

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The garden also has a more intimate space away from the main entrance with a feature olive tree and cypress trees to divide the space. 

In big spaces it is common to lose the coziness of more intimate space that as humans we feel very drawn to. 

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If you would like to build this contemplative garden or design your own, please contact me:

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