This was the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Started in 1947, the garden led Bawa, a lawyer called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1940, to decide to become an architect. As he went on to become Sri Lanka’s and one of Asia’s most prolific and influential architects, the garden at the Lunuganga estate remained his first muse and experimental laboratory for new ideas.
Sited on a former rubber plantation, its main feature is a large lake at the bottom of a steep hill. His philosophy was dedicated to man’s dominance over nature, moving hills, tees and water without hesitation, but creating in the end a landscape that looked totally natural. He continued to change and experiment with its spaces and structures throughout his life until his final illness in 1998. Left to the Lunuganga Trust on his demise in 2003, the gardens are now open to the public and the buildings on the estate are run as a country house hotel.
Geoffrey Bawa’s older brother Bevis, inherited a former two hectare rubber plantation in 1929 and over the years converted it into a series of landscaped gardens. Statues and artworks are dotted throughout – some are his works, others are works by his main artist friends, including Donald Friend. He hosted many wild parties over the years and his hedonistic lifestyle is reflected in his garden.