On the job…a garden renovation project

I have been working on a garden renovation with a wonderful client who lives part-time in London and part-time here for the past year.  Her home here was finished more than 12 years ago and the gardens laid out, but never planted.  What was planted didn’t survive the herd of deer that lives in her woods.

There are some quirky aspects to the mostly formal layout of the front courtyard scheme that I had to solve.  I knew from the beginning of the project that I wanted to use a mix of plants–some formal and others very informal.  New bedlines were created that would tie the adjacent areas together as a cohesive whole.

The Conceptual Plan

I wanted to use some native plants within the overall very simple and rigid structure.  A deer resistant plant palette for a home that is uninhabited for much of the year is a challenge–these plants have to be tried and true.  My client is very traditional and her British partner is an avid gardener so they had definate ideas about what they wanted.  The established (and poorly pruned) boxwood against the front of the house had to stay.  We will prune them properly and take about 6″ off their height. Others, as you’ll see, were removed.

The  progress photos from the first day of laying out the gardens are below.

These boxwoods had to go.  They were just too big for the space.  A low hedge of ‘Suffruticosa’ will replace them and will be pruned to ‘extend’ the  lower wall made by the brick cheekwall that borders the lower steps.


The new entry will be formal.  The Dwarf Alberta Spruce (reliably deer resistant) will be in a sea of Hypericum calycinum that will create a transition into larger and more complex and informal plantings on either side whose central feature are the two large  Amelanchier lamarckii in the second photo below.  The large boxwood have already met their demise.

Formal entry for a formal home

The Amelanchier will put on a show in June that will stop traffic coming up the long driveway.

Front entry from driveway side

This phase of the project also includes a white garden and an enclosed courtyard.  Those are going to be laid out tomorrow morning.  I’ll post again when these a finished.

2 thoughts on “On the job…a garden renovation project

  1. Looks and sounds challenging. Can’t wait to see the progress.

    Thanks! This one will go on for at least another year in fits and starts. Will be back on site tomorrow to work with a lighting designer to install LED outdoor lighting.–s

  2. I’m so intrigued by this project.
    Looking forward to hearing and seeing more images and information about it.


    What makes it kind of more interesting is that the client may or may not sell the house in four years when they come back here. I have to walk the line between curb appeal and individual wants and needs.–s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *