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7 Homes with Glorious Gardens & Greenhouses

Ahead of Earth Day (April 22), Luxury Defined spotlights a collection of homes with gardens and greenhouses for sustainable living

Greenhouses, first built by 13th-century Italians to cultivate exotic plants, have evolved over the centuries. “The young plants may be defended from cold and boisterous windes, yea, frosts, the cold aire, and hot Sunne,” wrote English gardener Thomas Hill in 1577. The wealthy Boston merchant Andrew Faneuil built the first American greenhouse in 1737. And, yes, George Washington built a greenhouse at his home in Mt. Vernon to serve pineapple to guests. With the large-scale manufacture of glass in the 1800s, industrial-scale growing spaces for fruits and flowers became a reality. Today’s residential greenhouses are still devoted to the green-thumbed amateur and add to the beauty and value of a home. Greenhouses allow for exacting control of growing conditions, extending the growing season, and allowing tropical varieties to flourish regardless of the climate outside. Inspired by Earth Day (April 22), Luxury Defined tours seven rural retreats with horticultural gardens and glorious greenhouses designed for farm-to-table living.

Windward Farm in Hunterdon County, New Jersey

Sited on 125 acres of rolling hills in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Windward Farm is a secluded country estate with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The property is a nature lover’s sanctuary, yet is within commuting distance of both New York City and Philadelphia. The estate begins at the quarter-mile-long driveway, bordered by open fields, barns, and acres of vineyards planted with several grape varieties. The 18,000-square-feet main house is situated at the highest point of the property to maximize the views. There are five bedrooms, six full and three half bathrooms, a family room, beautiful custom chef’s kitchen, a wood-panelled library, vast great room, and terraces for outdoor entertaining. Amenities include a squash court, tennis court, sauna, fitness center and yoga room, Jacuzzi, and heated saltwater pool. The property is also a working farm, with cultivated fields; a fig orchard; apiary; chicken coop; and fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens. There’s also an event space, two renovated barns, and a new 7,200-square-foot pole barn.

Uppgrenna Nature House in Gränna, Sweden

Uppgrenna Nature House is a unique eco-friendly concept home on the eastern shore of Lake Vättern in southern Sweden. The 3,175-square-foot glass and wood structure takes inspiration from traditional Swedish barn houses. Gothenburg studio Tailor Made Arkitekter modeled the design on the Naturhus, a sustainable housing concept by Swedish architect Bengt Warne in the 1970s. The house consists of three parts: a core living space, a greenhouse with protected outdoor spaces, and a wastewater recycling plant. The living areas comprise several reception rooms, a kitchen, five bedrooms, a private spa with treatment rooms, and a winter garden. The top floor is a serene loft space under a glass ceiling to showcase unobstructed views of the lake by day and the starry sky by night. The ground floor is dedicated to the greenhouse. Insulated glass provides a temperature controlled environment to mimic the climate of Northern Italy. Grapes, apricots, melons, tomatoes, and peaches grow in garden beds. The house is fully sustainable with low operation costs.

Skaha Lake Estate in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada

This 185-acre country estate in the hills of Oregon’s Okanagan Falls wine region comprises two dwellings, outbuildings, an equestrian facility, and farm-to-table gardens. A long winding drive leads past verdant fenced pastures to the custom-designed post-and-beam main house. Inside are 7,293 square feet of luxurious living space with panoramic views of Skaha Lake and the Okanagan Valley. The guest house offers an additional 900 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The many resort-inspired amenities include a heated indoor pool with sliding doors, a sauna, wine cellar, and a large covered patio with pizza oven, fireplace, and wet bar. The gardens are a horticulturist’s delight with a variety of fruit trees and an irrigated vegetable garden. The property also includes a four-stall barn and fenced pastures, a dog run, storage/wood shed, two double garages, a backup generator, private well, reservoir, and water rights to Derenzy Lake.

Green Gables – The Estate in Woodside, California

Green Gables is an extraordinary estate of 74 acres that has remained intact since its inception in 1911 by the business magnate Mortimer Fleishhacker. The heart of Green Gables is the magnificent main residence and gardens. Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene designed the main house, which features original furnishings selected and designed by legendary interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe. The estate includes six additional dwellings, each nestled in its own private setting. Noteworthy among them is a lovely 1930s home designed by acclaimed Modernist architect William Wurster. Green Gables is celebrated for its expansive grounds, which mix formal gardens, orchards, a glorious vegetable and flower garden, and woodlands, including the Camperdown Elm Allée, a striking avenue of meticulously pruned trees. There are also three swimming pools, a tennis court, private roads and wooded riding trails, and a reservoir. Green Gables offers an unparalleled breadth of homes, natural habitat, and land for enjoyment, relaxation, and development in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Traditional Galluran Estate in Porto Pollo, Sardinia, Italy

Stazzu Olivastri is a traditional Galluran estate in the verdant hills above La Liscia Beach, with breathtaking views of Porto Pollo and the archipelago of La Maddalena. Set on nearly 7.5 acres of lush Mediterranean gardens, this unique property is composed of four historic dwellings, restored by the architect-owner to preserve the original structural elements with the addition of contemporary comforts. The heart of the three-bedroom main house is a covered verandah with living and dining areas and a kitchen, and yet that rustic exterior’s simplicity of stone and wood contrasts with elegant, contemporary interiors spaces with rich fixtures, furnishings and fabrics. Stone terraces flow out to fragrant gardens with sweeping vistas of the Sardinian coastline.

Santa Elena in Luján, Argentina

Santa Elena is an impressive ranching estate comprising a main residence and 2,177 acres of formal gardens, parkland, pastures, and forests along the Luján River, 46 miles northwest of Buenos Aires. The circa-1943 main residence is built on the lines of an Anglo-Norman castle, but its large, formal windows admit plenty of light. The main house upper floor has 15 bedrooms, including a deluxe master suite with fireplace and separate study. The attic has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and the best views of the estate. The guest apartment is self-contained with a master bedroom and living and dining areas. The outbuildings include greenhouses, an Art Deco chapel, stables and tack room. A half Olympic-sized pool and clay tennis court are among the recreational options.

Monte Alverno in Dalkey, County Dublin

Monte Alverno, an exceptionally fine home of outstanding architectural and historic merit, is one of Dublin’s hidden treasures.

Enclosed by wonderful mature gardens extending to 1.2 acres, this magnificent Victorian mansion enjoys the luxury of seclusion while situated in one of Dublin’s finest coastal locations. Designed circa-1835, Monte Alverno was renovated and restored in 1895 by prominent Dalkey resident Alexander Conan and brought into the 21st century by its present owner. The house enjoys a spectacular elevated south-facing site with sweeping views of Killiney Bay. The grounds include a Chinese garden with waterfall and lily pond, raised flower beds, wooded walkways, granite terraces, and an elegant greenhouse with dedicated spaces for dining or relaxing. An all-weather, floodlit tennis court, a 65-foot-long heated pool, and an observation tower with changing room and shower further enhance this exceptional property.