FOR SALE: Benview, Tayinloan, TARBERT, Argyll



The 2 acre garden at Benview, Tayinloan has been designed and created by the current owners over the last 20 years. Kintyre has a ‘Gulf Stream Climate’, with relatively frost-free winters. This enables the planting of tender, even sub-tropical, trees and shrubs. The garden has many of these ‘exotics’ particularly from the Southern Hemisphere.

Reference has been made in the design of the garden to the landscape in which it is set, for example the long line of the western horizon is paralleled by the rows of hedges in the west of the garden, and woodland has been created on the three sides of the garden to blend with the woodland beyond.

The single storey villa comprises two linked pavilions. Pavilion One was designed so that the garden’s north-south axis passes through the central open-plan area of the building, through the north facing double doors, under the pyramid-shaped glass cupola, and through the south-facing double doors. This connection with the garden is a defining feature of the property.

For large west coast gardens, wet and windy conditions determine that the planting emphasis is on trees and shrubs rather than on herbaceous plants and flowers.

Like Japanese Gardens, which have a similar aesthetic, the focus is on the harmonious placement of plants, water, and objects in the garden.

Interest is provided by design, texture, shape, form and [foliage] colour. Planting is naturalistic within areas defined by clipped hedges.

While there are no ‘hard’ paths to follow, trees and shrubs have been positioned to direct movement through the garden.

Like a Japanese stroll garden, there is a route round the garden which allows one to experience its varying aspects.


# Click here to see full-size garden layout plan with stroll route



To the north side of the house is a formal area under lawns, with Eucalyptus and other specimen trees and with colour-themed beds: silver, gold and bronze.



The bronze bed has a restricted colour palette, based on the flowers and foliage of the shrub rose, Rosa Glauca.

The Silver Circle is planted with trees, shrubs and plants with blue or white flowers and silver or grey foliage. Of the many tender Southern Hemisphere shrubs/trees which thrive in the garden, three from New Zealand are of particular interest here:

Olearia semi-dentata [the Chatham Islands daisy bush]
Leptospermum [the New Zealand tea tree]
and Astelia Chathamica [Silver Spear].


The Silver Circle opens on to a large pond which is the focal point of the garden.


It is planted with a range of aquatic plants [e.g. waterlilies] and marginal plants, [e.g. Siberian irises] and the bog area to the east of the pond has a Gunnera [Chilean rhubarb] ‘forest’. Primula Prolifera, the yellow candelabra primula, has naturalised in the pond area of the garden.

Throughout the garden, flowers such as Alstroemeria [Peruvian Lily] Hemerocallis [daylilies] and Lysichiton [Skunk cabbage] are grown in swathes and drifts, often merging with native flora such as foxgloves. bluebells and marsh marigolds.

In the south-facing area beyond the pond, [the Exotic/South American Area], unusual trees and shrubs flourish such as:

Olearia scilloniensis [Snow bush]
Eucalyptus [Snow gum]
Embothrium [Chilean fire tree]
Crinodendron [Chilean lantern tree]
Araucaria araucana [Chilean pine/Monkey Puzzle]
Cordyline Australis [New Zealand Cabbage palm]
Myrtus Luma Apiculata [Chilean orange-bark myrtle]
and Yuccas.


From here the route crosses the bridge over the burn and runs between the Wee Pond with its planting of Red Primula Florinda and the Gunnera ‘forest’.

As you come on to The Long Walk, the ground rises gently through an avenue of Balsam Poplars and Scots Pines to the highest point in the garden, with its views west over the garden to the islands.

The path then follows the slope down through woodland to a glade enclosed by white-flowering fragrant trees, shrubs and rhododendrons. Prunus Shirotae, Prunus Tai Haku, Rhododendron Loderi King George, and Rhododendron Fragrantissima are stars among these spring-flowering cherry trees and rhododendrons.

It has taken time to convert a field, open to the prevailing south-west wind, to a woodland area able to shelter the growth of tender fragrant rhododendrons; many trees and shrubs are still immature, and development of the woodland glade is ongoing. Indeed, like all gardens, the garden continues to be “a work in progress”.

From here you cross the decking at the back of the house, passing the reflecting pool . . .

. . . and follow the decking walkway round the house to the grass path through the fragrant Rhododendron Luteum [yellow azalea].

This opens on to the gold bed and an avenue of specimen trees (which includes Cercidiphyllum japonica [Katsura tree] and Picea breweriana [Brewster’s weeping spruce]), and follows the outer curve of the circle bed, until it enters the kitchen garden by its northern entrance between the pines and the sheds.

The kitchen garden is laid out in timbered-framed beds between slabs for ease of access, with permanent beds of herbs, strawberries, raspberries, currant, blueberry and gooseberry as well as seasonal plantings of vegetables and salad greens.


The kitchen garden’s southern access is from the front driveway, where the gravel has been planted with architectural shrubs, including Phormium [New Zealand ‘flax’] and yuccas which screen the underground LPG tank and the ramp to the front door.

There are 4 large garden sheds, a woodshed, a greenhouse and a hen house [with run] in the grounds.

Water has been piped to outdoor taps on both pavilions and to outdoor taps in the vegetable area and on the Long Walk. Water has been borrowed from the rivulet, which runs along the northern boundary of the garden, to feed the burn and the large and small ponds. It is piped underground to return it to the rivulet.

The garden is almost level, sloping gently uphill to the east. The entire area is a raised beach, so almost all soil types [except clay] can be found in the garden: wet peat, dry peat, rich loam, gravel, dry stony soil, and sandy soil! Selecting plants for such a range of soils has been one of the satisfactions of gardening at Benview.

Natural rock formations were revealed when the ponds and the ‘burn’ were dug out, and these were exposed, enhancing the naturalistic appearance of the garden.

In summer, the whole of the west-facing garden glows in the breathtaking colours of the setting sun which goes down over the Paps of Jura.

# Click here to see photos of The Garden throughout the Seasons

# Click here to see photos of Unusual Flowers in Benview Garden

# Click here to see a short video of a walk round the garden on YouTube