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Modern garden for an old house – how the experts did it

En terrasse er belagt med utefliser av Offerdalskifer. Terrassen har et svømmebasseng, parasoll og solsenger i forkant av et idyllisk hvitt badehus.
Garden designer Eva Bengtsson was in no doubt when she planned a garden round a timber house in Bromma in Sweden. Natural stone was the right choice to give the garden a modern look.

The job was as elementary as it was complex: renovate and modernise the garden of a classic 1930s Swedish detached timber house.

– We wanted to respect the existing architecture while also giving the garden a modern facelift. It became soon clear that we wanted to use natural stone, says Eva Bengtsson, who owns Bengtsson Design in Stockholm, Sweden.

Terrace with pool covered with slate outdoor tiles and a sitting area with parasol.

The aim was also to use the garden to emphasise the unique characteristics and classic details of the house. The house and garden had to complement each other, but how do you get new, up-to-the minute design to work with the old and classical? The solution was slate from Offerdal.

– The paths round the house, with their original limestone surface from Öland in Sweden, were in poor condition and had to be replaced. Offerdal slate was the natural choice since it is also a local natural product and worked really well with the other materials. The Offerdal slate perfectly complements and sets off the house’s granite foundations and the cobblestones around it, Eva says.

A footpath thorugh a lush vegetation, covered with outdoor tiles of slate from Offerdal, Sweden.
Offerdal slate and cobblestones in a beautiful combination.

She also chose to use rectangular paving stones.

– Many prefer broken slabs for classic houses, but in this case, the client wanted the garden to have a modern appearance. So I thought it was better to go for the rectangular type, to give the garden a modern look. This also retained the beautiful warm character of the natural stone.

Terrace with pool covered with slate outdoor tiles and a sitting area with parasol.

The combination of classic and modern is continued in the choice of elements for the actual garden.

– The garden had a distinct classical style that we wanted to retain, but there was also a need to modernise.

They took inspiration from the colour palette of the house.

– We used many black and white details. The black was directly inspired by the gate and railings of black wrought iron and the white was taken from the white wooden windows, Eva explains.

Detail of a pool covered with Offerdal outdoor slate tiles  and golden wood.
Rectangular slate tiles gave the garden a modern look.
A terrace covered with outdoor tiles of Offerdal slate with a sun lounger, parasol and outdoor shower.
Black and white details – inspired by the property’s color palette.

Three materials at most

Eva Bengtsson always divides the garden up into different zones, or small rooms. A garden room is simply an area of the garden used for something special.

– I always ask my clients to think of their garden as they would think of a house: not as one large area, but a combination of smaller ones. There’s nothing as boring as a flat and empty garden, she says.

To create these rooms, elements such as plants, materials and garden furniture are used. It is also important not to have too many different things.

An outdoor shower on a terrace paved with slate tiles.
An outdoor shower with a zen feel.
Terrace with pool covered with Offerdal slate tiles and a seating area with parasol.
Clssic beautifylly combined with modern.

– The idea is for each room to feel unique, but it’s just as important that it doesn’t feel out of place. This is why we keep the different materials to a minimum, Eva explains.

To achieve the right balance between house and garden, it’s also an important principle for Eva Bengtsson to limit the number of materials used.

– We should never use more than three different materials in our garden designs, so to create a unified impression. In this project, for example, the same type of slate paving was used for the pathways around the house as around the pond area in the garden. The paths were particularly important as they were the binding elements between the different garden rooms.

A footpath of Offerdal slate with beautiful planting.
A natiral stone staircase with steps of Offerdal slate. Long straws are planted on the sides.
Terrace with pool covered with slate outdoor tiles. In the background there is an outdoor shower and sitting area.

For Bengtsson, it’s always a matter of finding the right balance.

– In this particular instance, Offerdal slate was the perfect link between design and functionality Besides being beautiful to look at and giving a modern look without interfering with the style of the house, it’s also a very hard-wearing natural material and slippery free.

– Slate is also beautiful all year round. Warm and lovely in summer and solid and practical in winter, Eva Bengtsson concludes.

Bildet viser Gustav og Eva Bengtsson som er hagedesignere sittende foran et flott rød villvin

– Slate from Offerdal became the perfect link between design and functionality. In addition to being beautiful to look at and giving a modern look without breaking with the style of the house, it is also naturally non-slip.

Gustav og Eva Bengtsson
Garden designers – Bengtsson Design

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