‘Wild regularity’ is the spirit which dominates this private garden in Schoten, east of Antwerp, which was designed for a new house built in 1989. The site is a fine one, a clearing in woodland with excellent deciduous and evergreen trees – oaks (Quercus robur and the American red oak, Q. rubra), beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris). The house itself, and its site, are asymmetrical yet the broad brush strokes of the garden layout suggest symmetry.
The eye-catcher in this peaceful garden is the goose-foot pattern of empty grass paths and raised triangular beds filled with ornamental grasses. The radiating grass paths, incidentally, are delicately tapered as they extend away from the house, creating a false perspective, so that the garden seems even more spacious than it is.
The house and garden are clasped in a roughly U-shaped canal which has been turned into one of the most remarkable and beautiful of features. Beyond the ‘parterre’, the far side of the canal is banked up and embellished with a beech hedge running its whole length and clipped into four steps or tiers as it ascends the bank.