Chalet Les Alérions

Rougemont (Switzerland)

The Challenge

The renovation of a chalet in Rougemont has entirely perturbed the existing garden; only a few big trees and a cornelian cherry remain. This almost blank canvas is the occasion of a new start. Which style should be given to a garden in the mountains? How to ensure privacy without blocking the view on the wider landscape?

The Solution

On this project more than ever, Lionel aims to develop a style corresponding to the genius loci. It is neither a town garden nor a garden in a Colorado resort. Lionel uses vernacular and natural materials: oak and chestnut wood, stone, as well as a palette of plants adapted to mountainous conditions. It is nevertheless neither poor nor limited.

In front of the chalet, vast stone terraces and a large grass area offer a central calming void with a view over the wider landscape. Surrounding this, Lionel plants in the embankments large shrub borders acting as soft background that fades the boundary of the garden. They are made of a mix of slow-growing and white-flowering shrubs, some of them evergreen for privacy, some of them with white-variegated foliage. On the western side, the cottage garden is the only colorful space in front of the kitchen and dining room. This garden is composed of a mix of vegetables, herbs and traditional cottage plants (peonies, old roses, phloxes, etc.) edged by a low yew hedge. On the smaller eastern entrance, Lionel propose a major statement named the “Toblerone folly”, a large topiary made of two parallel yew hedges and clipped according to the archetypal form of mountains. Dotted here and there, rare Mount Fuji cherries will ephemerally cover their tops with petals…