At the Vale da Lama homestead or “eco-lair” as owner Walt Ludwick has dubbed it, we needed to achieve a balance between preserving the stunning views to the Alvor estuary and the surrounding landscape, while creating a sense of privacy. The homestead is located on the Quinta de Vale da Lama site, which is both a working permaculture farm with residents and volunteers, and site of an eco-hotel. While the density of occupation is low, there is constant gentle traffic of people around the site, and the key was for us to create a sense of seclusion without disconnection from the whole.
A loose hedge of native Portuguese plants was installed around the perimeter of the homestead garden to create a sense of cosy enclosure. Inside the hedge, simple crushed stone paths and a more diverse but still naturalistic plant palette fit well with the wild landscape while providing a little more colour and design sense. Succulent plants and a kitchen garden provide fun and practical features nearer the house, while climbers are already scrambling up the large pergola to create colour and shade through the summer, while a thyme lawn provides a soft, fragrant green spot to lay out a towel for sunbathing. An interesting feature of this garden is the greywater irrigation system which harvests waste water from the house via a junction box which allows the water to be sent directly to the roots of the plants which need it most.