Private residence/ Conservation project, Langata – Kenya
The Place – A private residence in Langata, a very dry area of Nairobi and a residential area with considerable water problems. When we came to site the house sat in large lawn which was irrigated when the client had access to extra water. As a result it was very patchy and the numerous bare areas where being considerably eroded during the rains.
The Brief – We were asked to design a pool, pool house and privacy courtyards for a series of new cottages being built on the property. With this house being her principle home we need to make the cottages all but disappear without the main house or the cottages loosing the feeling of being within an extensive garden.
We identified the serious water problems and discussed with the client the ecological advantage of reintroducing native grasses and shrubs which are drought tolerant and which will contribute a habitat for the insects and wildlife which are becoming increasingly under threat within the urban areas.
The Design – In response to the site and the brief we designed a simple lap pool and pool house around which we reestablished indigenous grasses and perennials. Privacy was a key problem in this project and explains our use of stone walls to block certain views. An example of this is the large stone wall which makes up the western side of the pool house, which blocks the parking. For the cottages we placed generous privacy walls which create a backdrop to their private courtyards and seem to weave through the reintroduced vegetation.
The most exciting element in this project was to see how well the land has healed following our rich planting pallet of native species all found growing within a 5km radius from site. This ‘garden’ filled with wild plant species has provided a wealthy habitat with a notable increase of bees, butterflies and Warthogs!