Landscape gardening in Mallorca has never been so enriched with beauty as in the work of the island based Mashamba Garden Design. Masterfully entwining the essence of a blissful Mediterranean lifestyle with carefully curated designs and a deep respect for the island’s natural terrain, their passion and expertise to transform gardens and terraces in Mallorca is unparalleled.
“We seek to enhance the beauty of the surrounding nature to its most spectacular.” Jennifer Warren-Gash
Headed by Alexander and Jennifer Warren-Gash, Mashamba’s distinct approach to creating breath-taking outdoor spaces in Mallorca centres upon sustainability without sacrificing on style. Working with a broad range of quality materials to harmonise perfectly with different tastes and architectural designs, the duo’s stunning portfolio of beautiful gardens is a testament to their skills and dedication.
Interview with Jennifer, Mashamba Garden Design
Mashamba Garden Design operates under a strong partnership between yourself and your partner Alexander. Tell us more about your journey into the world of garden design and how you work so effortlessly together…
As you can imagine, working together as a couple has its challenges and as such and we try and keep our roles within the company as clear and distinct as possible.
Alexander is the creative force behind the gardens, whilst I stay up to date on all of the latest models, brands, pots and features that help to round off and complete a garden or any terrace area for a landscape project in Mallorca.
When did you first discover your love for landscape design?
Alexander has been a designer for as long as I have known him, and we have been together for 15 years already. I really think that it is intrinsic and he loves any kind of creative challenges.
You have a distinct approach to the Mallorcan botanical landscape. How have you had to adapt to the island’s essence and terrain?
One of the first rules of design that Alexander taught me was ‘know your materials’. For gardens this is mainly about understanding the foibles of all the plants, but for me it is about knowing which materials perform well outdoors. I like to be able to offer my clients products and materials that I am confident will last them for many, many years to come and at the same time aren’t going to require a lot of maintenance and care.
The island’s climate plays a big role in sourcing plants and materials for our projects. You have to think about the extremes of the summer – low water supplies at times, strong sun, salty winds, bodies lathered in sun cream and sand. So, I always like to create spaces that are going to bring people joy – spaces where they can relax and not worry too much about if a drop of wine is spilt on a cushion. Relaxed elegance. That is what we try to embody in our garden and terrace designs.
Landscape Gardening in Mallorca
You have worked on several major gardening projects in Mallorca. How has this shaped what you do and did you encounter any significant challenges?
From a design perspective, creating something new and original is both a daunting yet fantastic challenge. Larger projects usually allow for a greater degree of creative license and this has given us the ability to create a few of our very own signature styles and concepts that are becoming increasingly popular – our aromatic meadows for instance.
Are there any other outside stimuli that influence the designs that you create?
When it comes to outdoor living, for example, we have to look at the things that influence the area like the direction of the sun throughout the day, where the views are, how windy and area is, privacy from neighbours and so forth.
Sustainability has become an important part of landscape architecture. What role does it play in the ethos of your business?
Everything that we do, we have to think of the long game. For a start, this means that planting needs to be site appropriate and water wise. When we install pots and plants for projects, we have very precise standards on the kind of materials we work with and the types of plants we use in pots. At the end of the day, our reputation is judged upon our gardens for many years following its creation, so we want to make sure that whatever we do, it is going to flourish and stand up to the challenges thrown at it by the elements over the years.
You have recently launched a new consultancy service. How was this idea born and what are its core values?
For the past few years, we have been concerned that we have been too niche and offering our services exclusively to those who seek luxury gardens in Mallorca at the very end of the market. One of our goals has always been to promote the value of gardens and outdoor living to everybody and not just a select few.
Offering the consultancy service is a means of sharing our love and knowledge of plants and gardens to a much greater audience. During the consultations, we go through all of the basics, from design to irrigation, and practicalities to where to source the materials and get help if needed. It is a great opportunity for anyone that wants a nice garden, but does not necessarily want or need the services of a landscaping company.
What would you suggest for those who want to transform a small garden in Mallorca?
Every space is very different and there is no magic formula to transform a garden whether large or small. The best advice that we can give is – think the space through very carefully before you get started. A well thought out, planned and beautiful garden will often cost you no more than a very average one, and gardens are a long term project, so better to get it right first time round!
It is often said that an indoor space must work well with the outdoors. What are the main factors to consider from a garden design point of view?
I imagine that most good architects in Mallorca will consider the terrain, views and landscape as a determining factor as to the location and style of the house. The same can be said with the gardens and terraces, but we go a step further and also have to take in the architectural style of the house as a determining stylistic factor. Everything needs to fit together and feel like it belongs.
If you had no limits, what would be your dream project?
I like the sound of no limits! That said, I believe that the ultimate project would be in a place of outstanding natural beauty, where epic views dominate. Anything that we did, would be touches set to enhance the beauty of the surrounding nature at its most spectacular.
What are your favourite materials and plants to work with?
We certainly have our list of tried and tested go to favourites for the gardens, but when it comes to plants for pots (which is very different to the plant selection for a garden), I would say it is hard to go wrong with agave attenuate – it is my go to.
For plant pots, I am really passionate about a few different materials, and I would say that the common denominator is the fact that they are all handmade using traditional methods. For this reason, I have been busy curating items for ‘Mashamba Collections,’ which is something I have been working on behind the scenes to showcase some of my favourite materials and products. I am not quite sure yet when I will launch it officially, but I am working on bringing some of my favourite outdoor living items to people who just need to purchase special items, but without needing the complete terrace design service.
Are there any particular trends that will be sweeping across gardens this summer?
I think it is safe to say that there will definitely be emphasis on the importance of maximising any outdoor living space that you have, regardless of size or budget. I think people will no longer take for granted having a garden or a terrace.
As far as trends go, I have seen a few unique and thoughtfully designed products that dispense hand sanitizer for example which have been designed to be installed outside a business or home before people enter. Sounds quirky, but it could be things people start to think about as part of the ‘new normal.’
There may also be more of an emphasis on buying locally to support small businesses, and I think and hope that there will be a movement and appreciation for handmade items, like beautiful pots for outdoor living areas.
What do you love to do most when you are not creating beautiful gardens?
We like to spend a lot of time in nature, especially evening walks on the long summer days. We also enjoy spending time in our kitchen cooking and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Travel is also a large part of our lifestyle. We spend most of summer at our holiday home in Costa Rica, where we can completely go off the grid when we feel like it and emerge ourselves completely in nature and solitude.
Mashamba Garden Design