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In the garden with: Volker Püschel (landscape architect)

Volker Püschel with his wife at the “Gardens of the Year 2019” award ceremony © Callwey

Volker Püschel won the “Garden of the Year 2019” competition with a house garden designed by him. We talked with the landscape architect about his award-winning project, enchanted ruins as a design element and today’s demands on garden planning.

Mr. Püschel, a house garden you designed has been distinguished as “Garden of the Year 2019”. What is the special concept behind this garden?

A 100-year-old, derelict brick villa that was supposed to be torn down for reasons of safety was located on the plot. Totally grown over, it looked extremely enchanted. I was able to convince the contractor to leave the outside walls of the villa intact and integrate them into the new garden. In the past artificial ruins were erected in English landscape gardens – in this case the ruins were already present. In this way, a space arose that the garden was inserted into. The existing openings of the windows and doors are integrated into the design as visual axes.

Line of sight in the Ruinengarten by Volker Püschel © Callwey

The new house garden is supposed to fulfil which functions?

The new garden has been inserted into a larger, existing garden that I also planned. This fulfils manifold functions as a vegetable garden and a place for playing. Thanks to a newly built orangery, which was originally designed as a place for storing plants in the winter, the new garden has become a meeting point for the family and friends. 

View of the Ruinengarten © Callwey

What should one principally attach importance to when designing a garden?

This almost always depends on the requirements and budget of the contracting party. As a rule I draw up two to three preliminary drafts that then serve as the basis for planning the garden. I personally prefer versatile gardens that satisfy diverse needs.

New Orangerie in the Ruinengarten © Callwey

You have a great deal of professional experience. Have the demands for designing gardens and outdoor areas changed in past years?

The present preference for a smoother and more reduced architecture is in the meantime also influencing garden design. Today, many people want an easy-to-care for garden. However, there isn’t a garden that doesn’t require care. On the other hand, today contracting parties want a garden that is consciously designed in a vibrant way, because they are relocating the living area outdoors.


Which future challenges do you see for your profession?

Planning green areas on a larger scale will be decisive for the future. We need more greenery in the cities. Facades and roof greening could for example contribute towards reducing the consequences of the climate change somewhat.


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