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A contemporary garden, and a balcony over the sea

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
Modern pool by Vanessa Cottin Modern
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Today, let's fly to Bandol in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. This area, whose reputation is linked to the export of local wine and beach tourism, offers us a sublime project by the landscape architects Vanessa Cottin Creations. The project involved the remodelling of a garden and terrace space, with the aim of modernising it. Constrained by the topography – the site is a steep one – Cottin had to work out how to turn this to her advantage. Located close to the sea and the hills, the south facing garden enjoys mild temperatures, which allowed for the planting of exotic trees like palms, cycads, cactus as well as Mediterranean plants like olive trees and lavender. 

Sweeping entrance

As we mentioned this property is located in Bandol, high in the hills and it's south facing, giving it fabulous sun exposure and mild temperatures conducive to planting exotic trees such as palm and cactus . The property's wooden entrance gate is approached via a sweeping drive a stone wall in a Mediterranean style bordering it. Before Cottin's remodelling, this approach consisted of a slightly dirty peach-coloured concrete wall and crazy paving. The sandstone wall is far more in sympathy with the environment of Bandol, and the native olive trees are manifestations at Cottin's approach – which is to use plants and materials that are local to the area she's working in as much as possible.

Pool terrace

The property is built on very steep terrain, so to make the most of the garden it was necessary to create a series of terraces. Some are made from stone, while others, as here, were fashioned from exotic woods. On the first level here sits a swimming pool and a jacuzzi. Slim metal railings give the whole structure an airy and light feel. 

Stunning views

The impressive views over the Bay of Bandol from the property must surely be a delight for the owners of this villa! What could be more delightful than an afternoon spent sunbathing on the wooden deck, gazing out to sea? Apart from the sofas, arrange so as to take full advantage of the view, the decor has been kept spare, so that nothing distracts from the fantastic natural spectacle beyond the terrace. 

XXL planters

Another terrace, this time made of stone. This one is described by Cottin as an 'XXL Planter' – in other words, it's an enormous stone plant pot! The lush vegetation is in lovely contrast to the dry stone that makes up the walls of the planter, while the view of the sea beyond is making us drool!

Plants on the roof

Another terrace of sorts has been created on the roof, where soil has been laid down and planted with lavender. We imagine that the smell must be intoxicating when they're in bloom! The owners have also installed solar panels on this terrace – if you live in a property that gets as much sun as this one, it'd be a shame not to. 


As well as exotic plants, Cottin also made great use of cacti, which flourish in the hot temperatures of the Côte d'Azur. This is another giant 'planter', dedicated to these hardy plants and interspersed with cycads and palms. The whole effect is rather spiky, but fits well with the climate and environment it sits in. 

Green and lush

In the garden's shadier spots, the vegetation is far softer; greener and more lush. Cut stone stairs link the terraces.

Do you like this contemporary terraced garden? Let us know in the comments!
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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