Norwegian wood: sustainable timber at the Chelsea Flower Show


The 'Naturally Norway' garden by Darren Saines

Garden designer Darren Saines, based at Jessheim near Oslo, entered the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time this year. He came away with a Silver Gilt medal for his ‘Kebony – Naturally Norway’ garden, inspired by the country’s hardy flora and fauna.

Inspired by Norwegian landscapes

Sustainable design was one of the main considerations for the Naturally Norway team, which aside from Darren also included Norwegian timber producers Kebony.

Kebony, first-time exhibitors at this year’s Ecobuild, manufactures a wood product that has been made harder, more durable, dimensionally stable and weather resistant through a non-toxic process they call Kebonization, which uses liquids from biowaste material.

In simple terms, the process transforms sustainably managed softwoods so that they resemble hardwoods – both in terms of appearance and performance.

Kebony timber cladding

Used primarily for cladding and decking, but also suitable for furniture and other joinery applications, Kebony timber has attained the Swan eco-label (the official Nordic eco-label, introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers).

Kebony timber decking

From the Naturally Norway press release:

Darren’s design philosophy is to create a nature-inspired garden grown to flourish in and resist the diverse Nordic climate with plants chosen for their unusual natural shapes and structures. The garden has been designed to reflect the unique landscape of Norway – from flora and fauna to fjords.
… The planted areas will be defined by natural stone from Lundhs, with a centrepiece of a dramatic 40-year-old stunted pine tree set in natural larvikitt rock – the Norwegian national stone – that has been ‘rescued’ from a quarry.
A sleek central pavilion, designed by Darren and Norwegian duo StokkeAustad, incorporates a ‘living cube’ and is a space that adapts to the seasons, immersing the senses outdoors. Designed as an extension of the home for use throughout the year, the structure features intriguing applications – a discreet kitchen, shower and even day bed. An undulating water feature surrounds the pavilion reflecting the tranquil Norwegian fjords.
… Kebony wood is used as a sustainable alternative to tropical timber for the decking and pavilion structure while energy is created from bio ethanol burners. Unique glass will be used within the living cube, tinted to provide unusual lighting effects and self-cleaning for low maintenance. Flamed stone will be applied to terraced areas and granite from Southern Norway for its unique pearly façade. Even the boundary walls have been constructed from an eco-product called Durisol, blocks made from 80% recycled wood, linked together like Lego.

I will leave you with some more images from this beautifully twilit garden (and will try not to feel too homesick in the process):

The glass and timber pavillion

Plants that thrive in the short Nordic summer

Blurring boundaries: indoor/outdoor living

If you are interested in landscape design generally, have a look at our sister blog External Works.

‘Kebony – Naturally Norway’ photos by Helen Fickling.

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