John Richardson Gardens   Garden Design and Construction

House Camps Bay

Being a keen chef and regular entertainer, the owner of this architect designed house was very clear on two things. The first was the requirement for a herb garden and the second, a level lawn area on which to play the French game boules. For the rest he wanted indigenous planting with an irrigation system. 

Conceptually this garden is very simple as the spaces were small and provided little scope for expansive gardening. There was a large planter adjacent to the patio for the herb garden which was created by building a series of raised planter boxes constructed from railway sleeper timbers. To improve the accessibility of the herbs as well as enhance the aesthetics of the space, the boxes were raised to different levels.  

With herb gardens and other garden functions that required regular attention it is often a good idea to raise the working surface, thereby reducing the problem of back pain associated with working so close to the ground.

 The requirement for a boules lawn was achieved by constructing a level platform below the swimming pool. Having witnessed the game first hand in France, we understood that boules is as much about socializing as it is about the competition. Consequently two benches were built for those more interested in the passive approach to relaxing at the boules game. 

The first bench serves the aesthetic purpose of completing the rectangular architecture underpinning the garden, as well as the more esoteric obscure function of integrating the built environment with the natural one, as the bench is built perfectly level on an otherwise improbable slope. 

A second bench was constructed outside the home theatre room for chilling out between movies or perhaps a quiet conversation slightly away from the more active lawn area. Both benches are 'conversation' benches: so called because it is an L-shaped bench that allows two (or more) people to sit and chat in the naturally comfortable ninety degree orientation to each other. The second bench is designed to take advantage of the wall as a back rest and it is liberally surrounded with the fragrant planting of indigenous Jasmine (Jasminium multipartitum) to enhance the experience. 

Amongst the other interesting features of the garden are various aloes and a beautiful old existing Protea sp., which we went to great lengths to protect during the construction of the garden. It now occupies a prominent focal point and offers a beautiful gnarled, organic counterpoint to the linear architecture of the garden. 

The lawn is a very fine grass known as bayview grass, which is often used on golf greens and provides a lovely surface for ball games. 

The garden was handed over in January 2008 and photographed at various stages since then.

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Posted: 1/12/2009 (7:44:53 AM)

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