Axes, perspectives, levels, lines, the interplay of densely planted and relatively sparse areas, light and shade... the architecture of a garden is worked out with the precision of an artist composing a picture.

It doesn't matter if the garden is Mediterranean, traditional French, Italian or contemporary - what counts is using volumes, structures, colours and sensations to create a harmonious whole.

Dominique Lafourcade still remembers her excitement when in the hills above Florence she discovered an early seventeenth-century villa, La Gamberaia, set in its Renaissance garden. It is a magical place with stunning views over Florence and the Arno valley, a masterly blend of all the elements of the traditional garden of an Italian villa.

For Dominique Lafourcade, "When creating a garden, it is essential to enter into a dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Then the art of pruning is confronted in its turn with non-organic elements. This fundamental interchange determines the garden's structure..." Topiary, terraces, fountains, pebble features, walls, ponds, oculi, arbours and trellises... these are the essential elements through which the non-organic and plant worlds speak to each other.

In the Alpilles or the Lubéron in Provence, the garden is seen as an extension of the house. Dominique Lafourcade's gardens are true living spaces: a place to rest, to have lunch en famille or dine with friends under a pergola, a place to dream in the evening when the wind blows softly...

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