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Raffles Bali - The Story of Made Wijaya: A Legendary Landscape Designer
March 7th 2023

The Story of Made Wijaya: A Legendary Landscape Designer

As you step into our resort, you will undoubtedly be struck by the diverse array of flora and vegetation. This is no coincidence, as our landscape was meticulously crafted by none other than Made Wijaya, who carefully selected indigenous plants to maintain the natural balance of the ecosystem in the area.

Made Wijaya was a world-renowned tropical garden designer and one of Bali’s most flamboyant and larger-than-life characters. He was an artist, designer, photographer, videographer, historian, journalist, humorist, satirist, diarist, anthropologist, and more. In 1973, Made Wijaya, then known as Michael White, sailed to Bali on a break from his architectural studies. However, his temporary visit became permanent when he immersed himself in Balinese life, learned the island’s intricate rituals and history, and gained an encyclopedic knowledge of Bali that rivaled that of many Balinese natives. In 1975, a priest in a temple ceremony officially renamed him Made Wijaya.

Initially, Made Wijaya coached tennis and English to wealthy Balinese, but his own sense of aesthetics drew him back to architecture and garden design. He saw gardens as a theater and created dramatic vistas with bright tropical shrubs and creepers flowing from one well-chosen classical sculpture to another. His first major project was revamping the Bali Hyatt Hotel in Sanur, followed by the Oberoi in Seminyak, which was designed by Australian architect Peter Muller. Made Wijaya went on to create over 600 tropical gardens in Southeast Asia and around the world, including David Bowie’s garden on the island of Mustique and the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida.

Made Wijaya’s extensive knowledge of Balinese culture and his unique brand of caustic wit led him to write a column called “Stranger in Paradise: Diary of an Expatriate” in The Sunday Bali Post. He also authored several books, including “Tropical Garden Design” (1999), “At Home in Bali” (2000), “Modern Tropical Garden Design” (2007), and “Architecture of Bali” (2011).

In summary, Made Wijaya was a well-known Balinese landscaper who left a lasting impact on the world of tropical garden design. His knowledge of Balinese culture, his wit, and his artistic sense were integral to his success, and his legacy lives on in the hundreds of stunning gardens he created.

Indulge in a sustainable herbs ingredients at Raffles Bali’s Botanical Garden. Inspired by Made Wijaya and the lands of Jimbaran, some beneficial herbs have beautifully grown such as chili, flavorsome kefir limes leaves, curry leaves, passion fruits and stingless bee honey. Explore our wide range of lush botanical garden delivered by Raffles Bali Botanical Guru.