Cabin in the fields

Cabin in the fields

 

Garden and small pavilion behind the Dunes in The Netherlands

 

People tend to over domesticate their garden in an attempt to control it by detaching it from the surrounding landscape through the planting of exotic plants, fencing, and maintaining a short cut lawn. With this kind of attitude the fight against nature begins. Weeds begin popping up everywhere, bugs eat the plants and a shortage of nutrients show in the plants and lawn. The result is a lot of frustration and increased use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

I wanted to experiment with a different design approach in my own garden not only because I don’t like tightly maintained gardens but because I believe we have to embrace a totally different approach towards gardens.

contrast between architecture and wild vegetation |  garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond
Re-use of old materials in new garden design | using materials that age beautiful | garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond

Pic.  A


Re-use of old materials in new garden design | using materials that age beautiful | garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond
contrast between architecture and wild vegetation | One round pond catching the sky and reflecting the evening sun | Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond
contrast between architecture and wild vegetation | One round pond catching the sky and reflecting the evening sun | Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond
Differrent green tones |  Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond

Pic.  B

 

By embracing the garden as a living entity that is connected to the larger ecosystem we open to the spontaneity and wonderment of nature.

By letting go of the fear for maintenance and getting to know the plants that grow in our garden, we build a relationship with the garden and therefore restore our connection with nature again. 


This small garden behind the Dutch dunes of Wassenaar is part of a bigger complex of allotment gardens. The complex is situated near the river stream of the Old Rhine. It is a wet landscape with mainly rich clay soil.  You could say it is a typical Dutch polder landscape with meadows and straight ditches, Willows, Alders, grass meadows and water edge plants. This landscape is the starting point for the design of this garden.

I wanted this garden to be a part of the surrounding landscape rather than part of the complex of 45 small plots.

After buying the property I first plowed the whole garden. Within a few weeks Irises and Alders were popping up. I saved these plants by making a small nursery so I could use them in the later stage of the design. After that I renovated the cabin. The biggest change was opening the whole west facade and framing the view towards the sunset and the dunes behind the fields. I did not do anything for a year afterwards in order to get a feel for the place and let the design grow.

Photography: 

Maike de Ridder

Pic. A, B, C and D by Andrew van Egmond

 

Publicity: 

Home & Garden | April 2017

 

 

As said the landscape is the starting point. I wanted to let the surrounding field be part of the garden or even better, I wanted the garden to be part of the surrounding fields. I did this by incorporating the long lines made by the ditches into the garden. See figure 2. I designed one long pond, a long slim line that guides the path and steers the view of the visitor approaching the cabin to the open view over the fields. And of course I used plants that represent the surrounding landscape. The Irises and the Alders in the nursery I had created were planted in the right place, different seed mixes were sown and perennials and ornamental grasses were planted. A strong and resilient native base was formed for the garden. 


I love the contrast between lush, wild vegetation and minimalistic, contemporary, clear architecture and I wanted to incorporate that concept in this garden. 

This is realized by creating one connected composition of lines and surfaces that float above the green carpet of vegetation. Figure 6 and 7 shows this in a hand sketch.

This composition is subtly rotated by just a few degrees resulting in shifting the orientation slightly and steering the view towards the deepest point in the neighbouring landscape. Towards where the sun sets behind the dunes on late summer evenings. 

This rotation of the design is also continued in the interior of the cabin. It is incorporated in the design of the kitchen and shower unit. The visitor does not always see this subtle rotation as it is mostly experienced in a subconscious way. 

It also makes the garden visually bigger. 


Most of the original materials from the old existing garden have been reused in the new design. The concrete tiles and the big granite cobble stones were part of the old garden. By using these a new layer is added to the design.. The old stones and slabs are aged beautifully and therefore blend into the landscape naturally.


This garden has evolved into a small paradise that connects to the landscape seamlessly and is full of surprises. It strengthens the local ecosystem and enriches the biodiversity while not requiring much maintenance. The grass is cut 3 to 5 times in a growing season, the hedges and perennial grasses are cut once a year. I am even thinking of not cutting the perennial grasses anymore, as in nature, to see what the result will be. 

It’s all about giving into the rhythm of nature and approaching maintenance as an orchestrated exercise.

Connecting to the landscape | the setting and view is priceless |  Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond
Connecting to the landscape | the setting and view is priceless |  Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond
Connecting to the landscape | the setting and view is priceless |  Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond

Long lines in the surrounding landscape are incorporated in the garden. So the garden is one with the landscape instead of being alienated from it.

 

At the same time the long lines are sight lines on the landscape  with the trees and cabin framing the view.

Catching the beautiful view on the fields by opening up the cabin from inside. One wall becomes one big window.connecting the inside of the cabin with the landscape

 

 

 

Just rotating the composition of lines by 5 degrees changes the perception and steers the view a bit more to the view on the dunes behind the fields

 

The way toward the entrance defines a big part of the experience.

 

Not choosing the functional but the emotional approach enriches the whole experience

One connected architectonic object floating in spontaneous wild, native vegetation

The play of shadow against a wooden wall is sometimes all you need |  Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond

Pic.  C

 

Morning atmospheer |  Garden architecture by Andrew van Egmond

Pic.  D

 

Copyright © Andrew van Egmond | designing garden and landscape       |      All rights reserved  2019

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