5 September


Mediterranean Flora in an Island Garden

The house of Princess Esra Jah in Sedef Island was featured in the April 2015 issue of the Indian edition of ‘Architectural Digest’. It was a pleasant surprise for us as we had done the landscape design and implementation of the house. With its typical Mediterranean style designed by Francis Martin, the house specifically reflects the Southern French style in interior as well as exterior design elements.


Sedef Island belongs to Fethi Ahmet Paşa, Princess Esra Jah’s grandfather, and has acquired the appearance it has today through the forestation efforts in the 1950s of Şehsuvar Menemencioğlu and Reyan Şehsuvaroğlu, Princess’s uncle and mother respectively.

Princess Esra Jah wanted to have a comfortable and practical house and garden, which inspired the landscape design. The garden consists of two sections. The first section is the terrace garden connected to the house and the second section is the pool area. The slope in the terrain was left as it is and terraces were created to preserve the natural plants.


Even though the hard rock surface of the island created technical difficulties for the project design of the pool terrace, it paved the way to a landscape design in unique harmony with the nature. A sense of provincial French fireplaces and English country house in the furniture is immediately felt. The hall in the house leads up to the veranda and serves as the main living quarter. The cat Tigy keenly participates in the decorative ambiance of the hall.


The dining room opens up to the pergola on the terrace, which is covered with iceberg roses all year round.


Landscape design uses Mediterranean flora and natural stones in line with the general concept. Among the plants used are mimosa, olive, cypress, blue jasmine, and jacaranda while hard surface material choices are slate, terracotta and travers. The garden was featured in the Country Homes magazine in 2005. Serra Mübeccel Gültürk took the pictures used in the article.

Detailed information about the design of this garden resting across the Bosporus can be found below. It was also featured in both the Country Homes in 2005 and the Architectural Digest. ‘Lotus Landscape Design Planning’ designed the landscape of the garden in a typical Mediterranean country house concept with specific choices in hard surface areas as well as plants. The garden is divided into three main areas due to the fact that it rests on gradient land.


“The first is the area where the house stands. The flowerbed resting before this area gives one a pleasant view of many different types of flowers as well as serving as a sustaining wall to hold the earth on different levels. The living and dining areas in the terrace are spacious and convenient. The dining area is covered with a pergola of white iceberg roses. The rare china roses are also to be found here.”


“Stone stairs lead us to the second area: a small slope covered with grass. This grass area is circled with flowers of soft tones like light pink, lilac and blue perennial as well as the natural arbutus, olive and laurel trees. There is a swimming pool on the lowest level. Designed in an informal concept, the pool is tiled with sea sand color pebble stones. This gives a deep naturalist feeling. The walls and stairs feature stone masonry.”


“The pool also has a shady resting area with seating elements designed in the form of divans, adding to the naturalistic feeling. The islands are usually rocky terrain so the necessary soil for planting is supplied from elsewhere. Trees like linden, horsechestnut, quercus ilex and magnolia were planted by breaking the rocks. Besides the big trees, redbuds, red leaved plum, mimosa, Cyprus locust and cypress are among those smaller plants suitable for the island climate. Nostalgic flowers such as clematis, peony, corn lily, and blue jasmine also take their place in the arrangement.”


It is a pleasure for us to see the evolution of this magnificent garden as those who designed and realized it and still taking care of it…

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