Regardless of the season, a garden should encourage you to unwind, relax and connect with the outdoors. During the summer, it might be the bright colour of the flowers that draws you out; by winter, when the leaves and petals have fallen and there’s snow on the ground, it’s the crisp change in season that makes the outside so appealing. If you are lucky enough to have a garden that complements your home, the two need not feel like separate entities. The dividing line between inside and out becomes blurred and, before you know it, you are on the deck, having drinks in the cold night air, lit up by the stars.
This project – a new house built within an existing Edwardian walled garden – owes much of its success to the architect, Ewan Cameron, and the landscape architect, Susan Gallagher, considering it as a whole, where the building informs its surroundings, and vice versa, and the two work together in harmony.
“We always design our gardens to complement the architecture of the house,” explains Gallagher, of Glasgow-based Terra Firma Gardens. “That means materials and layout are determined by the architectural style and period of the building. This ensures the garden looks and feels like an extension to the house, rather than an unrelated appendage.”
While the Edwardian walled garden was an undoubted source of ideas, both the architect and the landscape architect have also drawn inspiration from elsewhere, particularly Eastern cultures. Indeed, one of Cameron’s trademarks as an architect is the subtle influence of the Far East and the introduction of elements of Chinese and Japanese structures to his designs. He lived and worked in Hong Kong and Singapore for a time and has travelled widely in the region, and the impact of seeing the Japanese temples of Kyoto and the gardens of Suzhou in China has left a lasting impression on him.
“Experiencing at first-hand the compelling symbiosis of architecture and nature to be found in these World Heritage Sites was a moment of revelation for me,” he says.
This villa in Perthshire was one of the first designs Cameron completed following his return to Scotland, and the effect can be seen in everything from the lighting to the glazing and the orientation of the building. He planned the villa so that it would harness as much natural light as possible and then redirect it through the spacious, understated four-bedroom interior. “As you approach it, there is no sense of what lies behind the original, high brick wall,” he says. “Beyond this, the villa initially retains its sense of intrigue, echoing the original wall in slate. But once through the entrance, the house reveals its true nature: two interconnecting glass pavilions, one for living and one for sleeping.”
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Photography Helen McCrorie
Words Catherine Coyle
The brief To create an easily maintained garden that complements the spacious new-build house.
Budget £100,000 (for the garden).
Timescale The house was completed in 18 months; the garden was completed in 10 to 12 weeks.
Garden designer Susan Gallagher, Landscape architect Terra Firma Gardens
Architect Ewan Cameron