Exciting plans are proposed for the landscaping which will conserve the character of La Durantie within its setting. The conservation of the existing landscape is fundamental, and the development itself provides for substantial new areas of planting to integrate the development into its setting.
To blend the housing with the environs, we have planned that ‘Prairie Style’ planting will encircle the Tower Quarter. This consists of ornamental grasses and very tough perennials that are adapted to the climatic conditions. These will help to merge and blurr the transition from the domestic gardens to the wildflower meadow that surrounds it. This will provide colour and form even in the winter months- the grasses will gently sway in the wind, provide shelter to insects and seeds for birds, before cutting back the deciduous ones in spring, in readiness for the new growth.
There are 6 courtyards around which the housing is grouped with a winding central path meandering up to the Artist’s Tower which is located to benefit from the stunning views. Along the path you will discover water features with seating in the shade of fig trees to sit and enjoy the sound of water on a hot day, leading onto formal village squares with a central Plane Tree, so typical of this region, with its beautiful mottled bark. Ample seating is provided along the way to make a stroll so much more enjoyable!
The six courtyards create a community and intimacy to the houses around them, featuring a spreading tree to provide shade to the communal table where residents of that particular courtyard, can meet and share a glass of wine or a meal or play cards. Each courtyard is named after a local variety of grape, Negrette, Tannat, Syrah, Prunelard, Braucol and Gamay. The vines will be trained over the two storey houses with much care by the team that tend the vineyard.
The colour of the crepi to the houses and the planting has been planned to complement each other. As visitors walk through the housing, the colour theme of the plants moves from white through to blue, to pink, lilac and purple, moving on to the hot reds. The colour of the crepi and woodwork subtly harmonises with the colour of the planting, yet each property is totally individual. This helps to create a natural look that is seen in any local village, and distinguishes it from other new housing developments.
In the majority of the houses, there is a private entrance courtyard that is tiled with the same tiling featured inside the houses. This courtyard will be partially covered with a structure for climbers to scramble over , providing shade and shelter to perhaps enjoy a morning coffee in the cooler months. Some properties even feature an opening in the wall that separates the private rear garden from this front entrance, through which the enticing pool can be seen and heard, immediately adjacent to the living areas of the house.
The pool is designed as being part of the house and is viewed from the living area through full height windows . The pool is backed by a rendered wall with a raised planting bed with non- leaf shedding phormiums, the colour of the leaf complimenting the colour of the render. In a central position amongst the planting, backed by a section of ribbed slate, water cascades from a water blade into the pool creating an attractive water feature. Adjacent to the pool is an area of decking, with ample room for sunloungers, under which the pool plant is discreetly concealed.
The living area flows out to integrated Verandahs creating a seamless transition from inside to out. On the outer periphery of the verandah wooden slatted blinds can be lowered to control the amount of sun, but still allow the flow of air. Generous tiled terraces ensure there is ample space for everyone to sit in the sun, and a BBQ is even fitted to the outside chimney breast. And we even think of an outside store for chair cushions plus a logstore for firewood, filled up by the maintenance team.
There are gardens of all sizes fully enclosed by either rendered walling with tiled capping or Elaeagnus hedging to give an evergreen boundary treatment that provides privacy throughout the year. Some owners may like the hedge on the rear boundary to be trimmed at a lower level to benefit from the view towards the meadow and woodland. A rear gate into the garden is planned for access for the pool and garden maintenance team- an essential ingredient for a relaxing stay at Durantie!
Gardens will be landscaped with topiary and shrubs that are ideal for the climatic conditions, such as lavender, rosemary, perovskia, shrubby salvias and of course, roses in abundance. These plants will be used in a very French manner, quite different from the British approach to planting. The lawns are often terraced to gently accommodate the slope with planting around the periphery to create a formal garden in the French style.
In some gardens an avenue of upright Cupressus or topiary will lead to a seating area on the rear boundary to enjoy the view. Some may even feature an informal gravelled herb garden, but each garden is individual and designed to provide privacy and seating areas in the both the sun and shade. The Mandrine even features a tiled pergola perfect for evening meals, positioned to enjoy the views toward the woodland.
The ‘garden’ to the Brugnac is quite different again, consisting of a large expanse of decking raised above the wild flower meadow with an infinity pool overlooking the stream and woodland. There are raised planting beds to the sides to create a sense of interest and privacy plus channel the eye towards the view.
If you have any queries to do with the gardens, please do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be delighted to provide additional information.