I spent New Year in Spain with my family and we enjoyed a day’s visit to Alhambra in Granada. In fact it’s become a bit of a pilgrimage as this was our third visit in the last few years and once again it was very inspiring.
The Alhambra complex dates originally from 889, and was later converted into a royal palace in the early 1300s. European travellers rediscovered Alhambra in the 19th century and it is now a major tourist attraction, exhibiting Spain’s most well-known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden designs.
Adjacent to Alhambra is a series of large gardens known as the Generalife gardens. Situated on a hillside with stunning views of the palaces and the city of Granada, the most striking features in the gardens are the water features and compartmentalisation, creating the continuous interplay of water, light, views and sound. Much of the garden planting is 20th Century and to be honest rather tired looking (although it was January). But what I find fascinating each time I visit is the scale of the place and how despite its grandeur the gardens work using a geometry that we recognise in contemporary design today. Good garden design creates a sense of place that has a positive emotional effect on visitors, much in the same way as a visit to a beach or beautiful woodland. It’s a quality I always strive for when I design a garden or landscape and appreciate when achieved by other designers. The original layout in the Generalife was designed to meet the needs of the Moorish Courtiers yet I feel it’s more relevant to garden design today than many later examples in England and Northern Europe.
We work closely with our clients to integrate buildings and landscapes in a harmonious and timeless way. If you are in London or the South-East and would like to develop your ideas for your own garden this year, then please call us on 01442 832666 or email me at email@example.com
And if you are planning to visit Alhambra yourself then it is worth booking tickets in advance and making sure you allow a full day!