Modern Home Plus Venerable Heath: An Ideal Pair by Jacques van Leuken
On the landscaper’s site is this whimsical description for this mix of modern property and rolling landscape: it’s “like a UFO landed in a natural forest and heathland.” In reality, this property of woodlands and hills, surrounding a pure white contemporary home, is one of the unique pairings for which Dutch landscape architect Jacques van Leuken is justifiably renowned. In reality, this isn’t a case of a house “landing” in the midst of the heath — both the wetland and this garden are in fact planned to fit in perfectly with the natural setting. But it’s truly hard to tell what “nature” placed here, and what the skilled hand of the landscaper inserted…the harmony is so total between dwelling and heath, between woods and lagoon, and between trails and pavement.
This rustic garden is visually interesting on so many levels, whether you’re ambling down one of the paths, sitting on the terrace overlooking lush green and flowering shrubbery, or skimming pebbles over the lagoon. Ramble up a few steps and you’re in a tailored bit of lawn reminiscent of a traditional English estate plot, or relax on a second-floor balcony and feel literally perched in the trees. A golden-brown retaining wall serves a dual purpose of edging a driveway and bridging the gap in a steep incline; mature trees complement the soaring roofline of the house. Somehow this home, so thoroughly contemporary, seems as settled and comfortable in its surroundings as the wild prairies and hills around it. That’s what clever design accomplishes, and it does so wonderfully in this setting by Jacques van Leuken.