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4 Homes With Climate Resilient Gardens

Chantel Mehrabanian – Sotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage

A changing climate brings challenges, but gardening doesn’t have to be one of them. With a little bit of innovation and planning, home gardens can stay thriving over the long term, even if local weather patterns change. The key is to choose plants that are climate resilient.  

Climate-resilient gardens provide lush, revitalizing landscapes that enhance and protect properties regardless of harsher environmental conditions. And from the leafy canopies to the sturdy roots, they ensure efficient natural cooling, productive soils, abundant local biodiversity, and absorption of atmospheric carbon.

But an important question remains. With weather patterns gradually being altered by climate change, how can homeowners cultivate climate-resilient gardens? The current plant hardiness zones put out by the USDA were published in 2012 using data collected from 1976 to 2005, and a new, long-term model is still in progress.

These impressive properties demonstrate how a climate-resilient garden can be designed, grown, and maintained—and what the landscapes of the future can look like.

Sustainable Design at its Savviest

Chantel Mehrabanian – Sotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage

Plants play a pivotal role in sequestering carbon, meaning that the more green cover a property can provide, the better for the environment. That’s why living walls and roofs have become such a popular—not to mention practical—trend. They’re not just beautiful; they also purify the air, reduce noise pollution, and provide excellent thermoregulation.

This panoramic Bel Air mansion features a living wall as part of its design, demonstrating the dazzling effect of a garden liberated from the ground. As one of the few three-floor addresses in this already illustrious neighborhood, it boasts the best of the best in all other aspects of its design—including its indoor–outdoor flow, which intuitively links the main level with the scenic lanai and more than an acre of backyard.

In Harmony With Flora and Fauna

Vicki Spearing – New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty

A resilient garden can go a long way to replenish compromised ecosystems. For example, in New Zealand, many conifers are invasive species that crowd out increasingly rare local plants, shrubs, and trees—and the animals that depend on them. These so-called “wilding pines” are a major issue—but well-planned, ecocentric landscaping can be part of the solution.

Amid the stunning terrain of Otago, this luxurious lodging has made a point of removing all wilding pines on the property, and in their place, planting native vegetation that complements the pristine vistas of Lake Hawea and the Grandview Ranges. Deer- and rabbit-proof fencing also ensures this garden coexists harmlessly with local wildlife.

Protecting the Land’s Productivity

Barbara Caprara – Ibiza Sotheby’s International Realty 

The loss of fertile topsoil is a concern facing society in the not-so-distant future. Over the years, intensive agriculture has taken a toll on once-fecund farmlands, and large agrarian lots are often seen as opportunities for development rather than for harvesting food. But there’s no reason why homes can’t occupy arable land while also conserving it.

That logic and ethos have informed this visionary estate in Ibiza. Though the three exquisite villas look like works of contemporary art, they stand on historic pastoral terraces that were restored and reimagined as a holistic part of the property’s inspiring architecture. Now fruit trees and orchards supply plenty of fresh food and fresh air, and the home has earned the well-deserved sobriquet “The Farm.”

A Place Where Past Meets Future

Eleonora Benetti – Italy Sotheby’s International Realty 

On a related note, the world’s warmer regions are monitoring the effects of climate change carefully. Heat-related hazards may be magnified in these locales, yet they remain some of the most desirable areas to live, visit, and vacation. Expertly-designed landscapes can help future-proof properties against environmental threats, and hold their aesthetic and functional value despite fluctuating temperatures.

This magnificent seaside farmhouse may have been built in the year 1500, but its gardens are still flourishing with life for several reasons. Not only does it have its own well and irrigation system for enduring periods of drought, but its parklands and orchards—encompassing five idyllic hectares—are forested with native species that thrive in the hot summers. These include around 650 olive trees, so locally-grown produce is yet another boon offered by this property.

It’s more critical than ever to consider the planet’s needs when designing properties and landscaping. Resilient gardens can make a real, tangible difference in managing and mitigating the effects of change, because what’s good for the Earth is also good for the home.

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