After the house, on the Den Treek country estate in Maarn, was renovated, the premises had to follow. When neglected, houses have a tendency to deteriorate by falling down. Surrounding gardens take revenge by growing. Once the house is brought into sound shape again it becomes obvious that nature needs equal attention.
||Not endowed with a rich history, inspiration for the landscape design
had to come from what was there. Enough to receive clues what to
eliminate. More than enough space to be granted freedom to add.
House, garden, park and landscape only had to be connected.
Next to the house, in the long axis to the south west, a formal garden connects architecture with nature. A hedgerow of table height emphasizes the view over rectangular flower beds towards the setting sun. The swimming pool is surrounded by a hedge of six feet high to hide it from the house and provide it with its own private atmosphere.
Parallel to the house garden, a new hedged-in rectangle has been planted in connection with the building where guests replace the coaches that it once housed.
The park provides a link between the garden next to the house and all landscape around. Existing trees are respectfully left standing. Clumps of rhododendrons are extended and reshaped to guide the view. Positioned in relationship with the corners of the house planting anchors the building irrevocably to its site. In the lawn that slopes down to the south east, an existing magnolia tree gets company from a new one.
Separating a country estate from the surrounding farms without visual obstructions is a problem that was elegantly solved in the great days of English landscape design.
The house, placed on a hill, would overlook the civilized world of garden and park. Beyond, an occasional farm provided a rustic touch. Grazing cows added to the bucolic view of a pastoral landscape. Yet meadows were meant to be grazed, lawns required mowing.
To keep cow and gardener in their place, the ha-ha was invented. A retaining wall, hiding a ditch behind, keeps animals effectively out and the view splendidly intact.
Gert-Jan and Corinne van den Berg
Emilio Troncoso Larrain