flowering shrubs bluestone walkway front view of the home bluestone patio the front yard
“I find myself savoring and treasuring the time I get to spend on the patios and amid the plantings. The blending of the natural elements of bluestone, shrubs, trees and the ever-changing array of perennials draws me out of my work-focused routines to spend as much time as I can outside. I cannot overstate Karin's skill in helping to guide the selection process, not only for the plantings, but for the overall design elements of home and garden. While my house and gardens may not be the Alhambra, they have become my oasis. ” Dr. Paul Pagnozzi, homeowner

Case Study:

Suburban Residence

Goal: to create a garden landscape to match the horizontal geometry and scale of a suburban home.

The garden proportions and hardscaping materials on this midcentury bi-level home were completely out of scale with the house. Plants were common mature plants (Picea glauca 'Conica', Euonymous alata), weeds and outsize shrubs (rhododendron and Van Houtte spirea). Hardscaping consisted of a narrow three foot asphalt walkway to the front door landing and interlocking blocks.

Echoing the home's horizontal geometry

The home's predominant horizontal lines inspired the landscape design. Half the home's windows were at ground level, which resulted in a plant palette of dwarf shrubs — their maximum height of four to five feet when arranged and combined, would coalesce into a strong horizontal foundation planting. We removed the narrow asphalt walkway, drawing it out eight feet from the house edge and paving with 1.5' x 4' bluestone pavers that culminated in a grand front landing that was 8'x 8', proportional to the existing front step. The existing three foot wide front foundation beds were expanded to eight feet wide out from the side of the house with the dwarf shrubs sited in the front of the bed farthest away from the house and a planting of short and scented creeping perennials closest to the windows. A 'river' of purple and white Iris Germanica winds through the middle of the bed. Loathe to wantonly remove existing mature plants, we incorporated the existing mature shrubs in with the new plants. Color theme is elegant green on green with hints of purple and white.

An elegant color palette

A mailbox plant grouping of burning bush and hydrangea (suffocated under the shade of the burning bush) was revamped: burning bush pruned to highlight its airy vase-shaped form, hydrangea removed and replaced with juniper procumbens 'Nana' and a mix of white and purple iris. Mailbox painted same color and the house. One specimen Yellow Lantern magnolia (cross between the non-native magnolia x. soulangeana and the native magnolia acuminata) was installed in the lawn at the front of the house.

Two new bluestone patios

At the rear of the house, we installed two new bluestone patios to compliment the existing patios so that the entire rear length of the house is paved and usable space for entertaining and for a Fig Pavillion, requested by the owner. A continuous bed of native and non native evergreen and deciduous shrubs (some scented and blooming) and several ostrich ferns edge the patios and help to hide the interlocking block so hated by the owner. A bluestone walkway the same width and material as the front walkway links two distinct patio areas.

leaf pattern