Garden designer Ali Warren-Gash believes that gardens are often the most undervalued aspect of properties here on Mallorca. Jan Edwards digs deeper to find out more.
“Having a nice garden is the ultimate luxury,” says Ali Warren-Gash, designer of some spectacular gardens on Mallorca. “Most of us come here for the climate and to spend more time outside, therefore it makes sense that you get the outside areas of the property right.” He acknowledges that he’s biased, but he has a point: we are able to spend months of the year being outdoors, which makes our gardens – whether confined to a balcony, or covering hectares of land – an extension of our living space.
Ali Warren-Gash moved to Mallorca some nine years ago, from Costa Rica, where he’d been designing and building luxury homes and gardens. He came here to be closer to family and friends in his home country, the UK, and live in a decent climate. He’s an outdoor person, with nature as his office, and Mallorca has given him the perfect lifestyle and working environment.
He defines the Mediterranean garden as being about outdoor living. “It’s about creating spaces that you want to be in, whether it’s a terraced area directly around the house, or a secluded seating area down a winding path.”
His design projects are mainly for fincas or country estates, which require more pre-planning than for small gardens. “Ultimately though, large gardens – in terms of giving you the ability to create something special – are easier than small ones because you have the space, and tend to have the budget as well. I prefer larger gardens as there’s the flexibility to do special things.” For one of the projects he is currently working on, he has just arranged planting of five hectares of olive trees and five of vines, with two to three hectares of garden to be done around the house itself.
“Soil preparation is probably the most important element and sets up the foundations of the garden. I will never compromise on the quality of the soil and would far rather invest in good preparation than in larger plants.” The biggest mistakes most of us make when doing our own gardens on Mallorca? “Not doing proper ground preparation, and underestimating the importance of irrigation.”
His favourite plants include lavender, olives, rosemary, agapanthus, and cypresses. “There are so many – we’re really lucky with the amount of plants we have to work with.” He likes the Seville and Iceberg roses; although unperfumed they are more disease-resistant and have a longer and prolific flowering period. Ali sources his plants on Mallorca and from the peninsula.
He says a garden should be planned well before you want to plant it. “Executing a garden may take two months, but planning and approval of stages such as general concept, design, and quotes, may take three.” He says best results are achieved with planting in October and November, when roots benefit from the autumn rainfall.
“I get excited about the possibilities of every single garden I work on here on Mallorca,” the designer says. One day, when he and his family finally find the right property to buy, he’ll have his own ultimate luxury . . . an Ali Warren-Gash garden.
For more information about Ali Warren-Gash visit: www.awggardendesign.com
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