Light and Shade

Light and Shade

Lisiy Nos, Saint Petersburg
Plot size
3 900 m²
  • This site is distinctive in that the area around the main house is mostly shaded or semi-shaded while the land in front of the guest annex is always well lit.

    The site was landscaped about ten years ago by our predecessors. A lot has changed in that time. The children of the house have grown up and the owners have learnt how to maintain the garden. With this knowledge, they were able to express their preferences clearly and articulate what they wanted.

    In a nutshell

    We needed to replace the lawn in shady areas where it either didn’t grow at all or grew poorly, add ‘forest’ plants, lay a bed of grasses and perennials ‘like in the picture’ from our design book, and use vegetation to screen the garden from the neighbours and the road.

    Simply reconstructing the existing plantings was not enough as they also required coordination to ensure that the garden presented as a unified whole.

    The Garden

    We positioned the bed of grasses and perennials based on the layout, around a small clearing on the sunny side of the plot. Behind this bed, a ‘dancing’ hedge was formed from clipped Thuja Brabant along the fence. At its tallest point, it conceals the neighbours’ buildings and provides an essential background to the bed, while at its lowest point it allows the neighbours’ apple and plum trees creep into the garden. In this way, the hedge fulfils its primary purpose of hiding the garden from view, while avoiding a harsh boundary.

    During the reconstruction, we relocated most of the sprawling shrubs across the whole garden, adding plants as focal points and using plantings to hide buildings recently constructed by the neighbours and conceal the property from the road.

    As the owners requested, we introduced ‘forest’ plants in areas unsuited to a lawn. These plants were specially selected based on the timing and duration of flowering to provide decoration in the summer and colour in autumn. Pine bark paths were laid like in a real forest, with no clear edges, while leaves and pine needles are left to form a genuine, wild forest floor.

    The owners are permanent residents so the garden must bring them pleasure year-round. With this in mind, we incorporated one tiny but essential detail into our design – plants at strategic points around the garden which are changed several times a season.