Anthony Paul, a landscape architect, based in Surrey, UK, believes that, “the marriage of the soul with nature makes the intellect fruitful.” His belief comes alive in this simple yet stunning garden designed by him.
Landscape architecture is instrumental in creating a beautiful relationship of the built mass with its environs. Through team work it helps celebrate the differences of the two areas and it would not be wrong to describe it as a topographic art that provides the prosaic patterns of life with an enriching dimension. With over three decades of experience, Anthony Paul is known for his innovative and contemporary gardens.
With a childhood spent in the rugged yet mesmerising natural beauty of New Zealand, the stunning panoramas of the country became a reference for his work. Inspired by Japanese landscapes, he draws on the simplicity of Asian design practices. Gardens are too precious a possession to be left to chance and Anthony’s landscapes are built on practical experience with a sensitive understanding of materials, plants and spatial use.
A garden is one of the most beautiful corners a house has to share. Anthony explains, “My approach to every project is always site specific.” Filling up the green pocket for Huf House in Farnham, Surrey, he shares, “Linking a new contemporary house to an established garden with spectacular views requires bold design. In this garden a large stainless steel deck extends out from the house and projects over an ornamental pool.”
Working in close collaboration with his wife, Hannah – curator and art dealer, he takes you on a wonderful artistic journey which he masterfully mingles with his signature style of planting.
Anthony shares, “The design of a garden does not end with hard landscaping. Once the main structure of the scheme is in place the garden then requires the finishing layers and dimensions, all of which contribute to its personality.”
“Great planting is the key to all stunning gardens and arrangement, choice and setting are paramount to good design”, says Paul. Large groupings of plants like Phlomis Russeliana, Salvia Verticillata – ‘Purple Rain’, Coreopsis Verticillata Grandiflora and Helenium to name a few render drama to the garden. Paul avoids employing stiff hedges and strong barriers, his gardens are seamless, relaxing and architecturally exciting.
Anthony believes that without flowing water a garden can seem lifeless. The introduction of a pool reflects the surrounding trees, while glass sculptures only enhance its transparent beauty. The use of soft LED lighting and up-lights on trees help set the mood. Paul shares, “To enjoy good design, good quality furniture is a must.”
His Zen benches with clean lines and bold forms become statement pieces drawing your attention in the midst of lush greens. He also shares, “My decks and platforms are something I am particularly proud of.”
The presence of the large stainless steel edged deck and its precision in design and construction contributes to the overall success of the garden in both visual and practical terms. Designing most of the hardwood or reinforced concrete planters that he positions on firm ground, Anthony manages to create a sense of scale and enclosure at the same time.
Most of the hardwood or reinforced concrete planters are designed by Anthony; these he positions on firm ground, to create both a sense of scale and enclosure. He believes, “Contemporary art enhances and enlivens a space. The mere presence of a quality piece of art can change the mood and atmosphere of a garden.”
A latticed figure in wire overlooks the garden as Paul embraces the artist within him and makes a statement outdoors. Adopting a modern emphasis on the space to compliment the contemporary house, Paul’s respect towards unadorned materials creates a setting which is not only inviting but personalised and artful.
Starting with an organised palette in and around the outdoor rooms, his plantings eventually almost dissolve into the surrounding environs. He shares, “I sometimes feel that I fill in the foreground like a stage and the background is done by a far bigger hand than mine; the borrowed scenery gives presence and credibility to my designs.”
Anthony has most strategically infused pockets of bold and bright colour with the help of his plants. A second look at this brave move is unavoidable. Native plants and pollinator attracting perennials aid in bringing balance and connection to this structured space.
Cosy corners are introduced in a broken pattern and these draw the eye around the garden rather than moving it in a single direction. The house walls are mainly glazed and the lush blocks of colourful perennial plants can be enjoyed from every angle within the house’s open and minimalist interior. At night, the garden is lit up, further connecting the inside and outside.
Anthony’s patch of green lies at the intersection of both private and collective experiences of nature. It addresses the material and historical aspects of landscape even as it explores nature’s more poetic associations, leading to a piece filled with novelty and nostalgia.
Text By Kanupriya Pachisia
Photographs Courtesy Steven Wooster