Born amongst the lush greenery of the Basque Country, Nerea Beitia joined Blakstad Design Consultants in late 2018 as a landscape designer. Finding herself falling in love with the colours, textures and traditions of Ibiza’s landscape – so different from her homeland – Nerea is developing a deep respect for island life, one garden at a time.
What drew you to move to Ibiza?
The concept of landscaping in the north of Spain is very different to working in the Mediterranean regions. The north is very mountainous, rugged and green, so people approach the design of their outdoor spaces with a different idea of what is possible. Here in the Med, it feels like there’s more scope to play with textures and colours – I really wanted to work in a Mediterranean landscape and Blakstad designs fit perfectly with my own concept of how architecture and the natural world work together. I sent an email and they answered me! I had an interview and a few weeks later, I moved to Ibiza. It’s a big change and a big adventure.
What and where did you study?
I studied agricultural engineering and design in Pamplona. It was very technical and I learned a lot. Now I am more interested in the creative side of it. I was always into nature and the natural world as a child. I was always connected to that world but I wasn’t sure in what direction I would go, then I discovered the combination of agriculture, design and engineering and it really suited me. I have this very technical base and then added the artistic and aesthetic side to it.
How do you approach garden design?
One of the first questions I ask myself is: what will grow around this plant? You have to think of the space very holistically. The landscape design must be connected architecturally to the house, and the outdoor spaces have to be useful too. You must resolve function. When the space is functional and is used, then beauty comes naturally. You can feel it – it’s as if the landscape has a memory. I also think of the design in terms of evolution. You have to visualise the future and how the garden will be a totally different space in five, 10 or 20 years. It’s a delicate balance because a garden is not stable, it is never completed.
How is working in Ibiza different from working in the north of Spain?
In the north, there’s a lot less sunshine, its very green and dense. There’s a lot of humidity and freshness. Here it’s the opposite. The landscape is very dry, it’s bushier and lack of water is a big issue. It has changed my whole perspective, as you cannot plant the same kind of garden. Things need to be sustainable and the plants that grow happily here are very robust. There are so many wild herbs and native plants to explore here. It’s so amazing. I’m learning about the ecosystem so I can find equilibrium in our gardens.
How would you describe a Mediterranean garden?
It’s a historic garden. The Mediterranean garden is the most ancient of them all. Babylon, Rome and ancient Greek gardens – the history goes back thousands of years. For me, a Mediterranean garden is aromatic and colourful. It contains bursts of different greens. It’s a garden of sensations.
What do you love about living in Ibiza?
I haven’t been here that long but the thing that has been the most surprising for me is the vast difference in the natural world. I’m constantly studying the spaces; how and when they change throughout the day, and over the seasons. I’m also fascinated about how history and tradition have been conserved in the landscape here. There’s a very deep wisdom in the landscape – it has a strong identity. I have so much respect for that and its pure beauty.