Modern Times Kemer Country
In 2011, we revisited the landscape design of the garden in Istanbul Kemer Country which we first designed 20 years ago. The garden was designed to be jointly used by the two houses back in 1996, then the landscapedesign and execution of the garden were reconsidered and the garden was eventually divided into two, in line with emerging needs.
Below, Selen Okan tells us the design story of the garden which was featured in the Ev Bahçe magazine in November 2011 with photos by Tunçsel Ülkü.
“Simple, chic and modern… These three are the defining words for the Kemer Country garden filled with surprises.”
“We continue wandering in gardens, and discovering more! It’s a lucky day for us. Why? Because it’s a day full of sunshine. We are heading to İstanbul – Kemerburgaz. For an appointment. We are hosted by Nilüfer Temel, owner of Lotus Peyzaj, and a landscape architect herself, at a garden she designed and executed. As the sun warms us up, we arrive at the garden in Kemer Country. We open the iron front door and are immediately surrounded by plants in all tones of green. The red-leaved plum tree shines like a ruby amongst the evergreen plants. Natural stones are used to cover the floors in the entrance. The floors covered with sod pointing continue up until the stairs in the main entrance. The soil in the shady areas is covered by Ottoman sod. These spaces between the frontal areas of the tall trees turn the entrance into a rather wide and open place. ”
A HIDDEN PARADISE
“Miss Temel tells us all about the background of the garden. The villa to which this garden belongs to and the one next door are owned by 2 siblings. Some 15 years ago, they decided to combine the 2 gardens and designed it accordingly. Last year they divided it into 2 separate gardens again. Project design took 2-3 months, then the execution kicked off. “It’s much easier to design a garden from scratch, but it’s more challenging to design and execute a brand new garden out of an existing one” says Miss Temel. We go to the backyard together. It’s like a hidden paradise here… The traces of the design choices can as well be seen here, but the backyard is much more spacious. Both modern and simple, it also looks very chic due to its uniqueness. Miss Temel says that they wanted to underline the greenery in design. Using gray tones very much serves this purpose as a color compatible with nature. Basalt covers the flooring and Gebze stone covers the walls. Irokko is preferred as the wooden material to cover the pool side and the veranda with the sofa set. Though the garden may not be very big in square meters, the architect of the garden tells us that it is possible to create unique living spaces if you use the right color and material.”
THE SECRET OF COOL WATER
“The wooden veranda of the backyard also has a wooden sofa set. On the way to the pool side on the right, you see evergreen plants in wooden flower beds. Buxus and Cycas breathe life into the place like they always do. The pool, designed parallel to the garden wall, feels more like a natural river. Miss Temel notices our curiousity about the pool and starts telling us about its details: “The pool is made out of black pebbles. Pebble is a natural material the size of very small grains of sand. When executed with a particular technique, this material provides a high level of insulation and finishing. The pool is of the overflow type, but instead of using grates which is a very common material in this type of pools, we made a system for the water to flow into the pebbles by adjusting the elevation of the garden.”
15 YEARS’ WORK
“Despite the recently executed design, the plants looks well established within the garden. The landscape architect explains us that this is the result of the work done 15 years ago. When the garden was first built, birch, bamboo and acer japonicum were preferred and now they all look sublime. Some new plants have also been used, one being the olive tree that catches our eye with its sculpture-like body. The walkway takes us to the dining section and a second sofa set. Here, there are also a tall table with bar chairs and an ornamental chimney. The upper part of this section, in white, purple and orange tones, is covered by an L-shaped pergola. This makes it possible to wander about the garden all four seasons without being affected by rain or sunlight.”
NEVER ENDING SURPRISES
“More is yet to come to surprise us. The winter garden on the left is definitely one of them. The completeness of the building is reinforced with this glass structure. To the sides of the natural stone pointing, there are short bushes. Juniperus’, Pittosporums, Agapanthus’ and the tall trees in the back are all in harmony. The red-leaved acer japonicum is one of the most striking plants in the garden. Lighting system is another particular feature of this garden. Miss Temel emphasizes the importance of lighting like in all of her projects saying “We used spotlights and recessed luminaire to create a stage atmosphere in the garden. Night atmosphere thus becomes a whole different experience where the garden turns into a live painting. The aspects of the garden needs to be kept in mind during the winter as well.” We once again come to realize that the garden is a coherent being from A to Z with a lot of details and how this was made possible.”