World Class Gardens

Last Updated: 18 Nov 2013
Claire Watkins

Inspirational gardens from around the world.

Inspirational outdoor spaces from around the world that inform the way we look at our landscapes and our interaction with them.


There is serenity in repetition of form, something that's perfectly illustrated in this garden, where the horizon translates cleverly into the landscape. Two simple rectangular shapes form the basis of this mountain escape in Lebanon. The first is created by the strong lines of the swimming pool; the second, the pale stone paving of the vast terrace, includes integrated grooves for seating. There, from a seated position, your eye melds the line of the pool with the line of the horizon, seamlessly extending architecture into landscape.
Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture,


Symmetrical garden beds and successional planting combine to create balance and harmony in this neoclassical English garden. The modern take on the formal style of garden complements the interior of the home and ensures its aesthetic impact for years to come. The contemporary direction of the Yorkstone paving surrounds the existing pool and embraces it as an integral part of the garden. Sculpture designed directly into the landscape from the outset rather than as an afterthought adds to the stunning effect of the garden, which is impressive from every angle.
Andy Sturgeon Landscape and Garden Design,


Carving into the closed structure of this Mexican home allowed for a transformation of space and use, and a flood of natural light. The focus of this home then became the central opening with its majestic wall of vegetation, the 4000 plants cloaking the surface to transform the notion of the residential garden. Yet Paul Cremoux and his team see the greenery as much more than a visual, eco-friendly solution. "We would like to think about it as an element that acts like a light curtain, accomplishing the idea of a theatrical dramatic plane," he says. The monochromatic meeting of black slate stone and crisp white interiors, meanwhile, further enhances the visual drama of this vertical garden.
Paul Cremoux,


This project converts a disturbed construction site in Southern Portugal to an idyllic home, using native plants to re-seed the landscape at large. The vision is for this coastal garden to expand, eventually merging with the surrounding woodland. Traversing the yard is a series of orthogonal timber pathways, providing access to visitors while protecting the delicate sandy soil. The mosaic pattern creates nooks for different uses and invites exploration of the property.
Topiaris Landscape Architecture,


A contemporary take on a classical architectural style, this home and garden in picturesque Cape Town is an exercise in minimal drama. A seamless integration from inside to out unveils a private, double-storey sanctuary before expanses of lawn. Ornamental grass separates the main house from the pool, which is surrounded by Ipe decking. The use of natural materials throughout adds warmth and texture to the large space, while carefully selected lighting transforms the area from day to night.
Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects and VIVID; Landscape designer: Franchesca Watson,


After fire claimed the gardens surrounding this home in the Santa Barbara foothills, the owners saw it as an opportunity for a redesign to better suit their lifestyle. The result is a stunning landscape that addresses slope stability issues, reduces water use and maintenance, and blends with the surrounding wilderness with a light footprint. Native sandstone, gravel, decomposed granite and flagstone provide the perfect hardscape alongside lush plantings, while three levels of seating surround the cedar pool and overlook a meadow planted in native species.
Grace Design Associates,


This majestic Cape Town property, cushioned between the city and the dramatic Table Mountain, gracefully contributes to its environment. The terraced gardens follow the movement of the natural landscape, and, shrouded in greenery, the sculptural home is ever evolving. Quarry stone from nearby Robben Island is the key material for both house and garden, ensuring a cohesive flow over the multi-layered expanse. Mulberry and olive trees salvaged from the site prior to construction were replanted throughout the garden – a new addition with an historical nod.
Franchesca Watson,


Manhattan's West Village, with its historic buildings and tree-lined streets, is one of the city's most desirable neighbourhoods. New York City homes rarely have the space for abundant planting, so urban gardens are a particularly sought-after feature. This West Village townhouse is host to several such spaces, and this gorgeous back courtyard, the ultimate hideaway, is among them. The designers of RR+P make a bold statement as they employ bright green upholstery to complement the sprawling vegetation, creating an enveloping verdant oasis.
Rees Roberts +Partners,


Contrast is a beautiful thing, and the modern design of this stunning pool house in Connecticut sits in complete juxtaposition to the traditional style of the existing house. The 110sqm structure opens on the north side to a spa and indoor/outdoor shower, and on the south side to a roofed verandah housing a dining area. A large opening on the wall frames the landscape beyond, while the sunken courtyard surrounding the pool features travertine paving, and stone steps and walls.
Hariri & Hariri,


The lush Singaporean climate lends itself well to landscape design, and this residence makes the most of its context with living roofs, trees incorporated into architecture and generous plantings. Two homes combine in the property – one for parents, one for children – and the linking of these volumes is expressed in a huge central courtyard. Low horizontal lines provide privacy and sanctuary, while an organically shaped oculus floods the common area in light. Inspired by classical Chinese garden design, the multi-layered home is equal parts indoor living space and resplendent gardens.
Farm Studio,

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