The Rou Estate: Gardens

The Rou landscape captures the beauty and romance of the abandoned ‘undiscovered’ hamlet nestling in the hills above the Ionian Sea, carpeted in wild flowers.

Dominic Skinner, the architect of The Rou Estate, envisioned the landscape unfolding as a series of outdoor rooms, each unique yet linked to the others. As a result, external and internal spaces are harmonised visually, connecting inside and outside living spaces with the stunning sea and mountain views beyond.

The landscaping philosophy emphasises the enhancement of existing habitats such as woodland and meadow, creating a place that is totally in harmony with the character and colour of the locality. The planting style is largely naturalistic – native trees and shrubs such as oak, hackberry, olive and buckthorn, create a permanent green framework. Discerning use is made of bold drifts of carefully selected Rou signature plants – waves of seasonal flowers in the form of wild herbs, perennials and bulbs, such as rosemary, lavender, agapanthus, alliums and irises. These are repeated throughout the estate to create high visual impact.

Plants have also been chosen for their ability to withstand drought and their appropriateness to the Mediterranean climate and landscape. Attraction of wildlife is also integral to the project and management of the estate positively encourages birds, bees and butterflies.

Jennifer Gay, one of Greece’s leading landscape architects, and Piers Goldson created the landscape of Rou in close co-operation with Dominic Skinner.

The gardens were featured in the September 2011 issue of ‘Country Life’.