mylandscapes contemporary garden design & build

large gardens milan

contemporary country garden design

A Lake Maggiore Villa

Nestled serenely above Lake Maggiore near Milan in Northern Italy, this contemporary villa is the brainchild of our resourceful clients. We designed Villa Neamh's large country garden over several years, where continuity of surfaces, walls, paths, floras and rooftop terraces forms a paramount outdoor element. Naturalistic planting envelops a steep 50-metre slope, sprawling across two acres, while producing food for wildlife and a contrast to this lakeside home's contemporary design.

Design & Words: Amir Schlezinger

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lakeside country garden 2-acre

Majestic Country Views

This Lake Maggiore villa is blessed with majestic snow-capped Swiss Alps views, and when our clients approached us to design its garden, construction of their new home was well underway. We developed the gardens' master plan over three years, refining its hard landscaping details, where the villa's large countryside grounds were designed and built in stages; each phase commencing once the builders completed an area and moved to the next. At the residence's entrance, a grand Alps view remains uninterrupted, and when guests arrive via the main stairway, Thyme herbs blend into Jasmine, providing a tactile scented experience. This front outdoor space was formed atop underground parking, designed as a rooftop garden – featuring built-in seating, raised planting beds, natural stone paving and sculptural trees.

Lakefront Panorama

A linear terrace spans the living room's entire elevation, facing Lake Maggiore and surfaced in flamed blue sandstone, where rectangular pavers enhance grip, while flowing into the lake backdrop. A refined material palette unifies interior glass, lake ambience and mountain landscape, framing a sublime view, where grand panoramas under a big sky are experienced in their purest form. The large quantity of natural stone, in various finishes and sizes, amassed two full cargo containers, defining a pristine detail design narrative. The Chinese stone seemed the most consistent, while Port of Genoa's proximity provided invaluable resources. Perched atop a sandy cliff, the large-scale house and its terraces required thorough geological preparation and underpinning into rocky ground before surfacing commenced.

Seasonal Range

Outdoor areas around the house express a distinct, contemporary garden ambience, where planting design nuances are cosmopolitan, yet essentially in keeping with an Alps view. Crape Myrtles epitomise seasonal change in their foliage, blossoms and bark, energising the entrance garden's spring, summer and autumn vistas. Evergreen Star jasmine climbers cover the driveway's steel pergola, while a meadow journey inspires a verdant country garden perspective, featuring a dense, varied and layered foliage matrix. Once reaching the foot of the slope, Lake Maggiore fades from view, where among a fruit tree grove, a sprawling green hill frames an immense house elevation, linking a modern landscape garden design with a glazed facade.

Design for Wildlife

This country estate provides extensive environmental gardens for wildlife, and with rich acidic soil and a humid lake microclimate, there's a truly broad spectrum of plant species available locally. We sourced a balanced mix of trees and shrubs from specialist nurseries in nearby Como; surrounded by countryside, we planted Italian Alder which is a resilient, fast-growing and highly oxygenating native tree. We sought to restore balance following a lengthy build phase, where diverse flora includes plants to sustain fauna, while anchoring level changes across the sandy slope. From the poolside to the woods, this terrain transforms into a rainscape in wintertime and a dryscape by midsummer. Many Chinese species thrive in these unique conditions, augmented by a native plant palette, amid a sequence of hedges and groves. It wasn't long before a kaleidoscopic butterfly swarm began feasting a la carte – reclaiming their bit of lakeshore countryside!