Green Oasis

Green Oasis

Gorskaya, Saint Petersburg
Plot size
2 000 m²
  • Located in a gated community near St. Petersburg, the landholding is modest in size, forming a near-perfect square. The ordinariness of the surroundings amplifies the impression conveyed by the plot itself, where a small glass timber-framed house, encircled by a wooden terrace and lawn, rises beyond the gate.

    In a nutshell

    Typically, clients have a wish list of features they would like to see in the design, including easily walkable paths. Our client, a modern young man, was an exception to the rule. His specifications were a calm, restrained and to some extent “sterile” garden with no need for paths – after all, you can simply walk on the grass. In line with our client’s preferences, we used little but hardwood when creating the garden.

    The Garden

    The house sits in the centre of the landholding with a children’s playground on the lawn to the rear. In one corner of the plot, the banya, a small grey log structure, contrasts sharply with the house, bringing added originality to the property.

    Given the minimalist architecture – as well as our client’s wishes – we suggested enclosing all the plantings in rectangular frames. Some require regular trimming, while others should be allowed to grow freely. The block compositions are formalistic, considering only the colour and texture of the foliage and the plants’ heights and flowering seasons. The trimmed blocks of shrubs contain Vanhoutte spirea, guelder rose, hawthorn, cotoneaster and white Japanese spirea. In one such block, next to the terrace, we planted the centrepiece of the entire property – a magnificent broad plumleaf hawthorn bonsai. The freely growing groups of plants include ‘Grefsheim’ spirea, red-twig dogwood ‘Elegantissima’ and hydrangea ‘Annabelle’.

    A solitary red oak was planted next to the central lawn.

    The plastered portions of the house are white, complemented by most of the plants’ colour schemes. A row of silver willows was planted along one side of the property. While still at the nursery, the trees were regularly pruned to a height of two and a half metres, then allowed to grow out again. The pruning of the branches is expected to continue – once a year or once a biennium – to allow the trees to form rounded crowns with silvery leaves.

    Whitebeam ‘Magnifica’, with its silver-hued white tomentose leaves, was planted along the fence that separates the property from the road. Meanwhile, silver maples were planted next to the banya. While the client did not insist on this, these trees hide the buildings on neighbouring properties for a holistic and complete overarching design.

    The only conifer on the property is the thuja ‘Brabant’ used in the hedgerow, which conceals the part of the fence visible from the house’s panoramic windows.

    Last but not least, the grasses: tufted hair grass ‘Goldschleier’, feather reed-grass ‘Karl Foerster’ and purple moor-grass which bring softness, airiness and, in turn, life, movement and emotion to the garden. The grasses were also planted within clearly demarcated limits, ensuring that the shapes on the property remain undisturbed even off-season when the grasses are pruned. White daffodils and ornamental onions were planted among the masses of grasses with white tulips to be added every year.