Komarovo, Saint-Petersburg
Plot size
8 000 m²
  • The standout feature of this site is its location within a resplendent pine forest in Komarovo. This very special place sits next to the Gulf of Finland and the sandy shoreline, surrounded by tall pine trees and redolent with the scent of dry needles. The overall effect is that of a unique yet recognisable atmosphere. The original buildings in Komarovo are exquisite out-of-town villas mostly dating back to the late 19th to early 20th century.

    The residence was custom designed by the St. Petersburg architect, Slava Valoven, and incorporates the main house, a separate 25-metre indoor swimming pool, a spa block with a guest floor, a guest pavilion and outbuildings. The facades are executed in the traditional Art Nouveau style that Komarovo is known for, with Tudor influences.

    During construction, the forest and existing ground vegetation were left undisturbed where possible.

    In a nutshell

    Our brief was as follows: to leave the forest as much as possible, to create a striking grand entrance to the house, to connect all of the buildings with a network of paths, to plant flowering shrubs around the house, and to ‘hide’ the property from the neighbours.Where the natural environment had been disturbed during the building works, rather than restore it, we were asked to replace it with a stunning feature to enchant visitors for as much of the year as possible.

    Overall, the primary aim was to retain the inimitable Komarovo ambiance and establish a garden that sits in perfect harmony with the architectural statement of the house.

    The Garden

    A broad drive leads from the entrance to a roundabout at the house. The original forest stands on either side of the driveway, bordered by hedges of cotoneaster and spirea japonica.

    The centre of the roundabout features an arrangement of leafy shrubs, firs and spherical thujas, which remain decoratively attractive throughout the year. The topiary in the arrangement is impressive, while the bright foliage adds an air of festivity. Pachysandra and lingonberry form a carpet among the bushes.

    Hydrangea, spirea and philadelphus are planted around the house, alongside durable but eye-catching perennials, such as astilbe, geraniums, daylilies and astrantia.

    The main house, the swimming pool and the spa block form a large enclosure covered mainly with forest. There’s a small clearing at the entrance to the main house, which is the owner’s favourite setting and visible from the windows, terraces and swimming pool – all of the owners’ and guests’ preferred spots. With the clearing such a prominent feature, we’ve planted a spectacular composite border of perennials, low shrubs and glorious bulbs here.

    The sunniest spot is in the corner, between the main house and the spa block, and the perfect place for a Scented Garden, set slightly apart by a clipped hedge. Here you’ll find a swing and a fountain, scented flowering bushes, roses and fragrant perennials. In summer, the terrace pots are planted with various types of lavender, rosemary, thyme and other herbs.

    Another small garden sits around the guest house, also hedged in, but with an entirely different theme. This is a Rose Garden because of the roses that grow in its sunnier section and because everything here is in shades of rosy pink: the apple tree, shrub roses, daylilies, astrantia, geraniums and liatris.

    Firs, lime trees and maples are planted along the fence, both blocking unsightly views and softening the boundary edge of the plot.