Brief Garden, owned and landscaped by Bevis Bawa, is a wonderful little estate garden located along the south coast in Bentota. Bevis was a Sri Lankan architect and artist, along with his brother Geoffrey Bawa (the award winning architect who designed Sri Lanka's House of Parliament). Initially the estate was a rubber plantation belonging to his mother. She bequeathed it to him after her death and he soon converted the rubber plantation into a legendary garden.
As you enter the illustrious garden through a tall, statue-capped gateway you will be surrounded by a thick bamboo hedge. Immediately you get the feeling of entering a private universe. The garden makes even the most serious adult want to run about in this wondrous playground. Filled with inviting nooks, alcoves and cloisters, the garden is an illusion to the eyes. Although it is not large in area, the hilltop, the pond and the stone steps make it seem grandiose and imposing.
The house itself is less illusive. The main gates open up to a large, bamboo-hedged circle which serves as a car park. The front door is set in the hedge itself and the house is quite invisible to the eye. The roof is concealed by magnificent white bougainvilleas.
Within the house the floors are bare cement. The walls and ceilings are plain and without ornament. There is an absence of softness yet there is an overwhelming sense of comfort which radiates from the works of art placed throughout the house. Much of it is Bevis's own work and of these, the sculptures of beautifully proportioned male nudes are the most remarkable. The work of many other artists, Sri Lankan and otherwise, are displayed within the house as well.
Be sure to allocate time for an excursion to Brief Garden.