Due to the historical significance of this property, careful consideration of the mid nineteenth century features were the primary focus for this design concept. The property is zoned for residential use and the plant hardiness zone is 7a.
The client desired a formal ornamental garden that kept the historical integrity of the site intact, but that also offered modern conveniences.
Due to the size of the property and the scope of the project, the landscape master plan was divided into multiple phases.
LANDSCAPE MASTER PLAN OVERVIEW FOR A FORMAL ORNAMENTAL GARDEN AT MOUNTVIEW
Our intent was to develop a conceptual master plan that seamlessly incorporated the historical buildings with a new formal ornamental garden on a central axial relationship with the back of the house. The historical elements include the house, stone entrance, and brick smoke house. The master plan for the new formal garden, to be installed in phases, included a wisteria arbor, brick-lined pathways, fencing, plant materials, pool and pool house, cedar-lined raised beds, walkways, water feature(s), etc.
This master plan included recommendations and advice for design, drainage, edging treatments, finish materials and patterns, plant placement and procurement, irrigation, exterior lighting, landscape, and materials to be either historically correct, or as a medium to harmoniously connect the past to the future. Our goal was to create a grand, aesthetically pleasing, interconnected, and reasonably maintainable garden.
PHASE ONE: CREATE MASTER PLAN AND BEGIN GRADING
The master plan for the formal garden manifested in a series of centrally located garden rooms with access points to the surrounding landscape. While the space was fairly level, grading reduced the south to north slope from 4-6” per 10’ to 1-2” per 10’. Additionally, a slight swale was created on the south exterior of the garden to facilitate drainage and thereby reduce the chance of erosion inside the garden. During grading, it was determined that the soil texture was predominately clay based with a pH that ranged from 6.2 - 6.7.
PHASE TWO: DESIGN AND INSTALL BRICK PATIO, LAY OUT AND DEFINE MAIN DRIVEWAY AND SERVICE ROAD
Initially a small wooden staircase was the access point to the center door on the back of the house. This narrow stairwell with a small landing was out-of-scale, had limited functionality, and was insufficient for the proportions of the new garden.
The solution we created was to build an approximately 36' X 20' brick patio at the rear entry point of the home. This patio was elevated to almost 30” in order to provide an enhanced view into the new garden. The brick wasmatched in color, size, and style to the house in order to create a sense of harmony. However, the brick was laid in a herringbone pattern to contrast the common bond pattern of the historic buildings on the property.
The original driveway enters on the center of the property from the east and leads traffic for several hundred feet directly to a roundabout symmetrically aligned with the front of the house. At some point in the mid twentieth century, an additional side drive was added off the roundabout that followed the south side of the house to provide access to the back of the property. This drive extension terminated in a simple two car shed. Both of these driveways, as they existed were serviceable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Our design made threealterations:
1. Increased the size of the roundabout to accommodate larger vehicles
2. Lined both drives with brick curbing
3. Converted the brown river gravel to a smaller, ‘shot’ style brown pea gravel
These three changes refined the driveway by more seamlessly connecting the newly brick-lined drives to the historic brick buildings through the use of a unifying material.
Due to the amount of construction to install the new garden, it was determined that a service road was needed. The most sensible and efficient place for this service entrance was parallel to the main driveway but in the distance, on the southern edge of the property. To soften the visual impact, small groupings of viburnum andlaurel were planted as extensions of two existing southern magnolias. These plantings blocked key stretches of the new service road. The service road was connected to the 20th century road near the two car shed.
PHASE THREE: INSTALL THE FORMAL ORNAMENTAL GARDEN INCLUDING INITIAL FEATURES SUCH AS: ARBOR, FENCING, IRRIGATION, PLANTS, RAISED BEDS, WALKWAYS, ETC.
The formal ornamental garden was designed to create three separate, but rhythmic garden rooms as an extension of the house. The installation of the ornamental garden took approximately three months.
The first room, was dissected by a central walk and both corresponding sides were divided into quadrants. This central walk could eventually be converted into the wisteria arbor. The ornamental beds of both quadrants were planted with roses. Then those rose beds were underplanted with annuals to create a strong and exciting visual impacts upon entry.
The second garden room, was surrounded with large boxwoods varying in size from 5'-9' and accented with hydrangeas. The center area in this space was designated for a future limestone lined lap pool. However, until the pool could be realized, this space was sodded.
The final room terminated with an arc. This space was designed to include six wedge shaped raised flower or herb beds with 30” walking paths between each. These raised beds were constructed from 6”x6” eastern red cedar.
PHASE FOUR: ONGOING COMMITMENT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF GARDEN AND SITE
Our commitment was to advise, design and direct the creation of these four garden phases and take as much of a 'hands-on' role in designing and implementing this concept as the homeowner desired.
Aerial - BEFORE
Aerial - AFTER
Formal Garden Design for a Historic Home
The client desired an ornamental garden for his property. During the site evaluation, it was determined that the ornamental garden should be situated as a transitional space between the main house and confluence of two main rivers.
In regard to the design and installation of the garden, Justin worked closely with the Harpeth River Watershed Association to ensure the grading for the installation of the garden would not affect the river bank or the existing ecology in a negative manner. They also installed pea gravel pathways instead of a hard surface material to assist in drainage. Exotic invasives were cleared from over an 1/8 of mile of the river banks.
This transitional space was purely utilitarian and presented both opportunities and obstacles. Since the location was at the end of the driveway, each time the homeowners arrived at the property, this new garden could greet them. At the same time, this site meant that the garage side, or utilitarian side of the house would be the view from within this new transitional space.
Once the decision was made to improve this transitional space, our design intent was to create a simple southern plant palette laid out in a symmetrical arrangement with the main axis leading to the master suite of the house. This plan has welcomed the client to the property while providing a juxtaposition between the utilitarian side of the house and the wild river below.
To overcome this obstacle, an apple orchard was planted with those trees planted around the perimeter of this rectangular garden to provide a framework for the space and to screen the garage doors on the west side of the garden. This also helped transition the new garden to the existing, taller, more mature tree canopy that lined the river on the eastern edge.
This project included the use of four symmetrical beds, each punctuated by American Boxwood and lined with Daylilies. Those beds were then filled with a simple southern plant palette of Camellias, Daffodils, Daylilies, Fruit Trees, Gardenias, Hydrangeas, Roses, Tulips, and Vinca Minor.
The beds are separated by pea gravel pathways and connected by two roundabouts that dissect these four squares. The two roundabouts are lined with Dwarf English Boxwood, filled with Daffodils and Tulips and in the center of each is a majestic Crab Apple.
We strategically positioned American Boxwood to provide a framework for the garden. Camellias and Gardenias, used for their lovely aroma, line the entrances and exits. The beautiful white blooms of Annabelle Hydrangeas guide you through the garden.
The overall concept is simply southern; traditional plants with great fragrance and color spilling from the beds into the pathways.
Justin won the Historic Preservation Award for his involvement with this property.