Friday, February 17, 2012


Recently completed a landscape plan for a local family who have a beautiful A frame house with a charming brick courtyard in the front.  The house is a neutral color and serves as a wonderful backdrop for plant material!

The family had just paved a new driveway which included an accessory parking area with a portable basketball goal surprise for the kids.  Other areas we addressed were the need for a privacy hedge in front of the fence into the backyard, and screen along the parking pad to help prevent the basketball from rolling down a sloped hill into the unmaintained, natural area. 

The property boasts a healthy number of mature, deciduous hardwoods on a sloped grade away from the road toward the house.  The shape of the driveway allowed for a central, focal area where we wanted to work with some existing trees and rocks while improving the area with additional plant material and design.

Another area we designed was along the drive beside a natural buffer of mixed shrubs and trees the family wanted to keep, but help screen.

The family liked the look of natural, native plants and wanted a more informal “woodland” garden versus a formal, structured landscape.  They adored the winter jasmine they currently had in the back and also a gorgeous Japanese Maple.  We narrowed our color palette to cream, yellow, pink and purple hues and wanted to use as many native plants as possible - yet keep a bit of Asian influence as well.  While the house faces westerly, the fact the property possesses so many mature trees, a perfect situation of dappled sunlight was created.

Here is what we came up with for plant material and I cannot wait for installation and growth to occur so I can get after photos; however, for now, I hope this gives you a glimpse of our ideas!
Screen for privacy fence and parking pad - we decided Fragrant Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) was just the thing.  Height does not become excessive and in the fall, inconspicuous creamy blooms give a heavenly scent.  Fourteen 6’ shrubs were what was specified to create this instant, perfumed screen!

Sweet Olive screen

A single Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), which is a graceful native tree, was perfect to put at the slope basin.  It is a beautiful, tight, pyramidal conifer which thrives in wet soil and has stunning fall color in a golden hue.

Beautiful Fall Color of the Bald Cypress

For the focal, natural area created by the driveway, I specified ‘Forest Pansy’ Eastern Redbud which is a native, woodland understory tree that has early, rosy pink blooms, emerging maroon foliage coloring green as spring progresses and turning yellow in fall before dropping to bare winter branches.  Three of these were what we needed!  While the property does not have this split rustic, fence, the photo gives you an idea of what a trio would look like:

Forest Pansy Eastern Redbuds

Also in this natural area, we removed some overgrown brush and cherry laurel at the top of the slope and added:
Yellow Anise (Illicium parviflorum) an evergreen hedge at the top, shadiest, wettest area to screen road.  We only needed 5 of these colonizing native shrubs:

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), another native plant with amazing fall berries on graceful arching stems served as the perfect woodland companion to be spotted in under the dappled sunlight created by the existing, mature deciduous trees.  Yellow fall color also is brilliant on the stems!

Purple fall berries of Beautyberry

Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), yellow blooms on spreading, low growing tendrils which were used en masse on either driveway side:

Winter Jasmine mass

Asiatic Jasmine was the specified ground cover to transition to ground level to ease in pulling in and out of driveway, control erosion and absorb moisture.  This was also dotted in and among rocks and used as a ground cover at the front of the A frame.

Asiatic Jasmine groundcover

Lorapetalum chinense, or Chinese Fringe Flower, we used in a sweep along the driveway to screen the unmaintained natural area to the left of the new driveway.  Pink blooms on rich burgundy foliage which colors more olive in summer and red in fall.

Growing 6-9 feet, Lorapetalum makes a nice screen

For the courtyard, we repeated the Winter Jasmine to spill over the wall and added a Cutleaf, Japanese Maple, ‘Inaba shidaire’ at the top of the wall to add interest.

Winter Jasmine spills over walls

Inaba Shidaire is a delicate Japanese Maple

Asiatic Jasmine served as Ground cover in front of the A frame and we decided a corner planting of one Sweet Olive on either end would frame the house while adding a wonderful fragrance to the courtyard.
When the family has a chance to allow this garden to mature, I hope they will enjoy the “Asian, Native” theme which complements the style of their home, has a relaxed beauty, and possesses an easygoing quality the family also exhibits!
Join me next month when I plan to talk about an English Garden plan I am working on currently.

No comments:

Post a Comment