Creating exotic gardens

It is creativity in its most natural form; nature manifested almost in an untouched mode. The gardens speak of an intense romanticism while laced thickly with a rejuvenating comfort and an overwhelming sense of tranquillity. This is the style of Made Wijaya, landscape architect and principal designer of Wijaya Tribwana International, who is renowned globally for his magical treatment of gardens.

Wild, almost passionately eccentric about his creations, Wijaya has woven his magic across some of the best gardens in the world. The wild streak in him translates into his gardens, to evolve what he likes to call ‘ordered jungle’. The result, of course, is stunning.


Having arrived in Bali from Sydney a few decades ago in the most unconventional manner, Wijaya chose to stay on to create exquisite green spaces.

A passionate conservator, he was influenced by their Islamic palaces and gardens. “Balinese are amazing artists and paint beautifully. I learnt a lot from them about courtyards, made mudbrick houses with courtyards, and medieval cottages. I learnt a lot about building techniques that conservationists need to know.”

Care needed

He firmly believes that intensity can be brought in by a garden that is as thick as a jungle, yet still in order. “If you turn your back on it, it will turn in to unmanaged wilderness,” he says, affirming that his gardens require a lot of care. Water gardens of the erstwhile palaces are magnificent, he says. “Water played a big part in the designs seen in South-East Asia, and this is inspired by South India. Timber pavilions are common in Java, but in India, it is more of a stone mantap in the midst of water.”

Wijaya has also been involved in restoring old buildings, one such being an old palace in Central Bali where he also enhanced the landscape around it.

Having travelled extensively in Indonesia, absorbing some of the primitive attributes of the local regions, Wijaya avers that Persian gardens are the first real gardens. “We owe a lot to them for our landscapes.” While he finds colonial gardens to be ‘gorgeous’, he is sharply critical of Zen gardens, referring to them as “brown things evenly spaced in a row.”

He also asserts that India is “stricken by arrangements while the English allow nature to grow.” When it came to overplay of art in a space, Wijaya was equally critical. “People do not know where to stop with art,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 10:06:53 AM |

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