Can you find inspiration for a quarter acre landscape in a palace garden? Can you take an old world style and give it a modern twist? I was given a great opportunity to visit Spain last year and check out a few landscapes that I found very inspirational. The primary location was the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. For me, it was a trip of a lifetime to finally get out of the country and see something with more than 200 years of history. I was amazed by some of the work put into the patios at the palaces with each one inch pebble placed perfectly in a mosaic to create the ground plane. A labor cost I could never fathom in our landscape contractor world. Here are a few pictures. I hope you find them truly inspirational.
This very geometric summer palace garden was designed for relaxation. It is just up the hill from the main palace at the Alhambra and incorporates open floor plans and lots of water to keep the household cooler in the summer. For a geometric look in your own landscape, use boxwood to border beds. To help drown out traffic for an in town garden add a small water feature. You’ll be surprised how even a small feature can be a sound benefit.
These stairs are called “the water stairs”. I am still waiting for a client to want a water garden built into the railings of the stairs. I promise it would be awesome.
The hidden garden entry, a great way to down play a home with two front doors. If you’ve ever seen a house where you aren’t sure where to walk or a secondary entrance has taken center stage the idea of hiding one door and making it a private entrance with some plantings, can direct visitor traffic. Short of placing a sign with a big arrow at the main entrance, the concept of a private, more hidden entrance is the next best thing.
This, like many other patios was made stone by stone. I love the symmetry and single focal element. Use this idea to create a focal element in your backyard. To make it obvious, it should be in line with a main view. Perhaps a fountain out of a bay window, or a beautiful ornamental tree at the end of a patio.
Wrigley Field on steroids. Imagine this garden wall without the ivy. It would be a massive, harsh brick wall. The idea of breaking up a large flat space with a little green is a great way to add some plantings to screen a view when a traditional option is impractical.