|The De Jongh family acquired a new home in an
urban subdivision of a former nursery garden just outside Driebergen.
The house is situated on a relatively small lot that is partly
excavated 4 feet to allow the construction of an extra floor within the
rules of the prevailing zoning ordinance. The orientation of the
property is towards the gardens and rear of adjacent houses.
As so often, the brief asked for a garden with minimal maintenance. Asked what their preferences were as far as gardens are concerned, the clients came up with examples of lush intimate gardens full of flowers.
The first intervention was to completely enclose the lot with a wall of 7 feet high. Not only does this define the garden space, it also helps to block the view of the neighboring garden. A fully grown hedge of yew trees on part of the property line is maintained. The wall is not made of bricks but built up of gabians, natural rocks in a metal mesh, for a more lively and natural look. An existing concrete retaining wall is painted dark grey to be less obtrusive.
The main feature of the garden is a 10 feet wide strip of Cor-Ten steel that runs the whole length. The strip starts at the garden wall, runs through the upper garden, next to the house, becomes a set of steps descending into the lower garden, rises again at the end and stands vertically against the hedge of yew trees. The strip connects all sunny places, provides air, adds grandeur and gives the garden, along with the wall, its motif.
Subsequently the garden was covered with a thick wall-to-wall carpet of permanent plants and bulbs that enable it, as a whole, to be in bloom almost all year around. Scattered throughout are flat slabs of natural stone that make the garden accessible, and to facilitate maintenance. In the future eight large acacia trees will hide the view of the neighboring houses even more. Two magnolia trees add a special touch to the upper garden.
Hans and Mieke de Jongh