The House Got Bigger and the Garden Became Smaller
To accommodate the addition of a master-on-main suite the house had to be built into the small garden space. Gardens to Love accommodated this building change in several thoughtful ways.
We removed a section of the straight and stepped down retaining wall, then added to the patio using a combination of bricks to match the 40 years old house. A new retaining wall with a lovely arch was built further into the garden. This semi circle accommodates the client’s chairs and the addition of a small round coffee table…perfect for morning coffee and papers. The stucco walls were all stained with Benjamin Moore Amhearst Grey stain, a color that unifies and makes the walls recede visually. Gardens to Love simplified the plantings and left plenty of room for large pots of color that our client loves to use.
The happy result is plenty of space for indoor and outdoor living.
Time for a Facelift
After resurfacing the front bays with stone and copper tops, the client wanted to update the 20 year old foundation plantings. He was also open to some new ideas. Gardens to Love was ready to with plenty ideas for a nip and tuck and more.
We felt the sloping grade away from the front corner of the house was too extreme and the sloping front walk with steps was dangerous. The house needed to be set on a visual pedestal or as a “cake on a cake plate”. That required building walls and facing them with the same stone used on the bays, backfilling with many yards of soil, designing new steps and walkway. The final touch ups were the new evergreens that are like good makeup to a great facelift.
Evolution of a Small Patio
He said “I just never go out there, but I’d like to.”
It was a precious bit of outdoors for a small in town condominium and it was being wasted. Step one was to remove the debris, step two was to consider the site drainage. Luckily, the patio “floor” was only dirt with drains along the base of the walls. Gardens to Love brought in course granite sand and laid 2 layers of large grey crab orchard slabs of stone that created a very beautiful and permeable floor.
Next we installed the fountain and pond with a seating wall at the classic 19” height. The client related to lions and chose the lion mask as the fountain face.
This became the focal point for every window of the home. New plantings and both the patio and pond followed repair and repainting of the block walls that we parged with stucco.
In this small space, every detail mattered. Now, our client loves to go out there all the time.” It’s become quite a retreat from the hustle and bustle of town.
Ready to Focus on the Yard.
When they called us they were finished with the inside renovations and now ready to focus on the yard. Specifically there was no access from the family friendly street and sidewalk to the front door. How would friends know how lovely the house had been made if they couldn’t get to the front door?
This architecturally interesting 1970’s California modern home needed a sympathetic landscape design. Gardens to Love designed an intriguing and environmentally friendly approach from the street thru the wooded lot with the use of gravel landings and a geometric meander of slab steps. Understory shrubs both native and cultivated were added to create a mid field with perennials softening the ground. In spring, daffodils bloom and kiss your feet as guests focus on the welcoming entrance.
A Place for the Children to Play and the Adults to Relax
The site began with a steep muddy slope where the children wanted to kick a ball that rolled down the hill faster than across the lawn. The existing outdoor fireplace and chimney was too short and let smoke roll down into the seating area. Gardens to Love rebuilt a taller fireplace and added another terrace retaining wall with more steps to lead to the upper terrace that was leveled with many cubic yards of soil. The children had outgrown the old play set in the corner. When that was removed the lawn was enlarged for more ball games while the adults could enjoy a smoke free meal on the lower terrace.
A good garden for good times.
She Wanted a Jewel Box
The client moved from a big house and garden by the sea in California to a small house and garden in a prestigious multi-family community in Atlanta.
She asked Gardens to Love to transform the existing pleasant but uninteresting garden into a little jewel box. She said, “Make it sparkle for me.”
We changed everything from the ground up and from the back of the house out. The too small stoop and steps that lead to the wrong place were the first things to be demolished. The new limestone stoops and step design set the tone for the remainder of the garden. Views needed to be hidden and an internal garden focus needed to be created. This was done by introducing a tall water feature and creating two intersecting ovals on the modified ground plane. With Gardens to Love plantings of boxwood, hydrangeas and other flowering shrubs and bulbs the garden began to sparkle.
The client says she used to sit in her garden and stare at the sea, now she happily looks at her jewel box.