I was thrilled to be asked to redesign the gardens at Il Palagio in 2000. The owners’ aim was to bring the estate back to life, and they set about the restoration of the property and the revival and modernisation of the vineyards. Most of all they wanted to make Il Palagio a family home. The villa commands spectacular views across the surrounding countryside, its olive groves and vineyards stretching towards the distant Apennine Mountains. My challenge was to respond to the owners‘ desires and aims. My first task was to link the villa to the surrounding countryside, and also to design gardens that would return the villa to its original country feel, a character shown in old photographs of the villa rising from the olive groves.
Our feasibility study and landscape management plan for this country estate led to our involvement in the design of a masterplan, working drawings and planting plans for a series of descending terraces, a large olive & lavender garden, detailed design for a large formal parterre, a swimming pool garden flanked by olive groves and a vaulted loggia as well as a 35-meter long metal pergola cloaked in roses.
I was determined to re-establish the link with the olive trees and so I planted many of them in informal patterns on the various terraces, with climbing roses growing through their branches. I also planted tall narrow cypress to create strong, dark green vertical elements to contrast with the horizontal ochre walls and the olive trees.
We encouraged the estate to maintain self-sufficiency principles including a natural water collection system to irrigate the gardens.