A garden in Les Alpilles

In a magnificent natural setting, the dense, formal garden gradually dissolves into the landscape. In the distance, the beauty of Les Alpilles dominates splendidly.

The owners' wish was for an elegant, sophisticated garden with a classical touch, a garden for living in, designed as an extension of the house.

"It is all built around the superb view stretching as far as the eye can see, magnified by the foothills of the Alpilles in the background"...

A long path runs through the property, dividing the clipped, pruned and shaped garden from the agricultural areas. The seamless integration with the landscape is exemplary.

One obvious meeting point is the lavender field, a sea of bushes bordering the olive grove. Only one meadow plot is cut, the rest is kept natural and follows the seasons.

Farther on, under the almond trees, are three terracotta sculptures of white sheep and the silhouette of a life-size horse, a nod of acknowledgement to the rustic world.

Close to the house grow the formal garden and protected areas sheltered from the wind. A flower-bedecked arbour of gorgeous flower beds stretches the perspective, focusing on an impressive stone sphere in the middle of the Round Garden.

The Flower Garden blooms, emphasised by its straight-lined shapes matching the maze. A carpet of white pebbles accentuates the bark of three well-trimmed plane trees, flanked by a bench, and providing cooler air and shade.

Here again, Dominique Lafourcade has made use of indigenous plants; around the pond wild basil and flea-bane alternate, rosemary thrives in Anduze pots and beds of red valerian enflame the borders.

Behind the house, the kitchen garden is set with hedgerows. Covered terraces, garden plots, concealed corners and pathways, protected from the elements or exposed to the breeze... a standing invitation to live in rhythm with the seasons.