Philippe Dubreuil - Gardenist - Landscape Architect

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I have always been attracted by Nature.

It all started in the family garden in the Dauphiné, lovingly nurtured by my mother who is justly proud of it. Cuttings from gardens all over Europe miraculously and happily flourish under her expert eye and her green fingers. There I find collections of rare plants which, even today, I have difficulty in naming when I stroll with her in her eclectic paradise.

It was not long before I discovered the infinite beauty of Italian landscapes so close to my family home and from there, those of other countries to which my interest in fine parks and gardens led me.

As a young man, I was drawn to the History of Art thinking that I had an aptitude for art conservation, but I was less than happy to find myself immured during my military service in the Musée de l’Armée in the Hôtel des Invalides. I missed the outdoors and the world of plants too much. It was then that I left to study botany and horticulture in that country which is home to many of the world’s most beautiful gardens and its greatest garden designers, England.

After two years of practical experience learning the basics, working with the land, driving agricultural machinery and designing gardens, I undertook a course on the restoration of historic parks and gardens to prepare myself for dealing with projects on historic sites. It was here at the Architectural Association in London that I started to approach my idea of a garden from a different perspective.

I always try to see how a garden would have been created, whether it has been designed by the builders of the house or by those who altered it to create a connection between the architecture and the surrounding countryside or even to provide a justification for what has been done or to add authenticity to the finished product.

All information available must be taken into account in any project so that the result is viable and durable whatever may be the constraint imposed by the site, the budget, the demands of the client and the practical experience of the designer

With this in mind, when I first approach a new site, I wander all over it in order to learn and understand its coherence, its connections with the surrounding country and with the house whose servant and partner it will always remain. That first contact allows one to feel the poetry of the site, its harmony, its limitations and the possibilities for improvement.

When a client first instructs me, I try to discern immediately if I can be of use to him and how. In all cases, I shall want to see the site; it is impossible in my view to advise by telephone without being acquainted with the garden.

During the first meeting, I absorb the sensations which assail me as I walk through the garden to feel the spirit of the place. I take notes, photograph the views and perspectives which seems to me important so that I lose nothing once I have returned to my studio to put my ideas on paper.

Next, I ask the owners questions about their wishes, how they use or wish to use the garden, whether children or animals are likely to put particular pressure on the lawns or invade the flower beds, whether they have help to maintain the garden or if they depart for the whole of the summer.

Once I have return to my studio, I put on paper all my ideas and impressions and the requirements of the site. I draw a rough plan showing the views and perspectives which should be retained and those elements which need to be disguised or concealed.

Having reached agreement with the clients on the price, I produce a study comprising a design and a plant list illustrated by watercolours showing what the clients will see in 10 years time.

If my proposed plan is acceptable, I then produce a final design to scale showing all the proposals, the details of the planting, the automatic watering system and a proposal for lighting. This plan will be sufficiently detailed to allow quotations to be prepared for the whole project, item by item, the cost of the plants, compost, planting, watering system, lighting and maintenance.
+33 685 303 081
  • 9, place Saint-Augustin - 75008 Paris - France
    Phone: +33 142 617 159
  • Manor of La Pillardière - 61360 Chemilly - France
    Mobile: +33 685 303 081
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