Traditionally, houses along the Amsterdam canals are several times deeper than they are wide. The same applies to their gardens that are often even deeper than the house they adjoin.
After a major renovation of their canal house, the clients wanted to integrate the garden into their new environment. Laid out after their own design fifteen years earlier, it was an opulent garden but lacked structure.
The brief included two terraces, one close to the house and the other one at the end of the 80 feet long garden, and a pond, if possible. As it turned out, the garden featured a slight inclination, its back end being some 15 inches higher than the land near the house. This provided an inspiration for the pond.
Unoccupied, a terrace should not look abandoned, but an integral part of its surroundings. The terrace next to the house is an extension of the interior space, while the one at the end is the only place where the sun reaches the garden, inviting as a place to sit but also to view.
Existing trees located in the adjacent gardens were used as the basis of the garden’s design. Mainly consisting of flowering trees like magnolia, similar species in the same category were added. They rise from a green undergrowth that reaches no more than one foot and is saturated with all kinds of flowers, blooming in different seasons.
A ten foot wide path constructed of fractured blue stone runs through the middle of the garden. An elongated pond, four feet wide, occupies the center, its edges framed in lead which is the same colour as the surface of the path, but a completely different texture. The water surface acts as a level to demonstrate the slight slope of the garden. At the end the water is flush with the ground, near the house the surface is 15 inches above.
In summer, the pond is filled with water lilies. In winter it adopts the grey colour of the lead and bluestone around it. The seasons in between are indicated by the flowers hovering above the undergrowth, all blooming at different times of the year.
Noor van Leeuwen
Maartje van Asperen
Michael van Gessel