Name of project: Barros Park
Garden surface: 6 ha
Construction year: 1993
Location: Fundo El Alto, Chiñihue, Chile
Architect of house: Christian de Groote
This garden is situated approximately 50 km west of Santiago. The site, which forms part of a field of hundreds of hectares dedicated to fruit production, is located at the foot of an area populated with sclerophyllous woods native to Chile’s Central Zone.
The biggest challenge was to ensure that the garden was established in harmony with the surroundings.
The horizontal shape of the house and its position at the foot of the hills facing the valley made it look like a dam, an image that I tried to soften with the vegetation. A path was traced to access the house that shows it from afar and then climbs facing the hill and curving around the great meadow. The route advances under the trees through an enclosed and mysterious thicket. From there, the walker can no longer see the house and feels immersed in the landscape. Access to the house is by a patio that offers an impressive view of the surrounding hills.
The center of the garden is the meadow. From there one can appreciate the topography of the surroundings: horseshoe-shaped hills that open towards the valley. In this large space, smaller areas follow in succession: the swimming pool; the humid wood, shady with ferns; the garden that is seen from the main bedroom, consisting of araucarias, winter’s bark, roble beeches, and lingues; and the garden of cut flowers, where the owner is free to grow whatever flowers she likes.
These corners are essentially formed by native vegetation typical of the áreas: peumo, soap-bark tree, maitenes, boldos, lingues, and molle. The lagoon, located at the end of the main axis of the central meadow, consists of six reflecting pools; the sound of water falling from pool to pool accompanies the walker along its banks.
The swimming pool area is sheltered by groups of jacaranda, accompanied by an undergrowth of veronicas that, when in bloom, produce a broad carpet of turquoise and violet.
At the center of the meadow I placed two large groups of fuchsia and pink crepe myrtle, which frame and contrast vividly with the dark green of the molles and peumos, emphasizing the view and the meadow’s depth. In autumn, they add the purple tint of their leaves to the surroundings, whereas in winter, when they lose their leaves, the crepe myrtle trees appear to be sculptures in the landscape.
Before the front door, and framing the reflecting pool, I planted Chilean palms that merge with the native forest that envelops them. Together with the fuchsia-colored bougainvillea, they evoke the image of the historic parks of the Central Zone of Chile.
Since the color changes of the native forest in the area are slight, the introduced species responsable for producing the most dramatic color variations were the crepe myrtle and jacaranda tres, while at the same time, of course, giving identity to their respective environments during the four seasons.