Mere metres away from Llandudno beach on the fringes of a Cape Nature fynbos reserve, lies a garden that redefines the concept of coastal gardening. A fusion of classic landscaping and rugged coastal interface, it is as unexpected as it is beguiling. While planning their garden, the European owners envisioned a design with universal appeal. ‘We wanted a blend of European design, Cape flora and succulents,’ say the owners.
The couple approached landscape architect Patrick Watson to design their garden, while Arlo Mitchell of Greencube Landscapes and Gardens brought the concept to life. Patrick also worked closely with the architect, Keith Mason, who designed the French châteaux-style home. ‘As an artist you can put ideas together, but ultimately the client needs to buy into and extend on your vision,’ says Patrick.
Like the waves pounding at the boulders on its doorstep, the ebb and flow of the property’s coastal context guided the design and plant choices. ‘A garden is perceptive of change and requires discipline, both in terms of design and location,’ Patrick explains. The challenge was choosing plants that would withstand tempestuous winds and salty spray from the Atlantic. ‘The climate ranges from desert to rainforest; it’s hot and dry in summer, with the strong north-western ripping through the garden in winter. Many plants just won’t grow in such a taxing environment,’ explains Patrick. There’s no denying the fickle Cape weather is a hard taskmaster. As was the location. The owners admit that it was a behemoth undertaking to carve out the property’s blueprint.