Refinement and Simplicity

Refinement and Simplicity

Gorki, Leningrad Oblast
Plot size
4 000 m²
  • Our task: to make this oblong plot a comfortable place to live despite uneven terrain and a four-metre drop from top to bottom; to give the impression that it is bigger and more spacious than it actually is; and, where possible, to shield the house from prying eyes, including neighbours – this is particularly important because it was assumed that the owners would live in the house year-round. In addition to striving for comfort, we also wanted the plants to connect the property to its natural surroundings.

    In a nutshell

    The garden concept could be summarised in just two words: “refinement” and “simplicity”, which dictate the overall mood. Natural motifs and strict architectural forms intertwine in the garden, creating a unique interplay of images and moods.

    The Garden

    The property is divided into three parts: entrance, centre, and forest.


    Сeremonial, functional, vivid.

    The space is structured by the retaining walls, mountain pines, dwarf fir trees, barberries and offset stairs which, drenched in the greenery of decorative plants and hydrangeas, counteract the uneven terrain and create a convenient passage to the centre of the property leading up to the house.


    Overlooked by the windows of the house, this is where the owners spend most of their time.

    The garden and its paths lead to the terrace in front of the house via a number of interlocking clinker brick platforms framed by wooden joists. We made the platforms geometrical, taking our cue from the laconic nature of the architecture.

    The terrace looks out over the vast meadow, the flower garden surrounding the guesthouse and the pond.

    The meadow is circled by hillocks which alter our perceptions of the space, visually widening and foreshortening it and concealing the back of the property from view.

    The house appears submerged in the flower garden arrangement. The grasses and perennial plants were selected to ensure a drastic change in appearance several times a season. And annual plants are added every spring, changing the face of the flower garden each year.

    The pond is a microcosm of its own. Settled comfortably on a bench, you can spend hours marvelling at the light dappling the water’s surface, the insect life and the plants which change by the day, including the water lilies which are a favourite with the lady of the house.


    In this section, we made the owner’s dream a reality with a piece of wilderness alongside the house. Pines, heather, cowberries and bilberries breathe life into a real northern forest with a unique, mysterious and somewhat brooding atmosphere.

    Looking at it now, it is difficult to imagine that this forest is not so much nature’s doing as our own, created by our architects, engineers and builders.

    A separate, outlying section contains a vegetable garden with an English greenhouse where fruit trees and bushes border a parking area and a children’s playground.