When it comes to design, this is a garden that gets it right in so many ways.
It's all the little touches that make this front entrance so welcoming. There is even a pretty wreath on the door.
The yews and most of objects on either side of the front door are balanced symmetrical (the two black sconces, the two rectangular planter boxes filled with annuals), but there is just enough asymmetry to keep things interesting (the concrete fruit basket on a stand and large final on the porch).
It's natural to want to dispense with the bother of mowing a lawn when your front yard is as small as this one. The challenge in replacing the grass is to make the plantings looks just as tidy and presentable as a lawn.
Over the years I have seen as many unfortunate attempts at replacing a front lawn with a garden as I have seen success stories. It's hard to get it right. (I must see if I can do a post on the subject!)
In this instance, the plantings have been keep somewhat formal. In the foreground, a box hedge frames a low expanse of pachysandra. Shading the pachysandra are a row (only one is visible in this photograph) of Ivory Silk Tree Lilac, Syringa reticulata 'Ivory Silk'. This is a fairly compact tree that has fragrant, creamy-white flowers in late spring or early summer. (Height: 20 ft, Spread: 14 ft. USDA zones:3-7).
To the right of the door is a novel sculpture that was created with can of blue spray paint.
Before we head into the backyard, let's stop to admire these pretty container plantings.
1. Pink Begonias 2. Impatiens 3. Purple Heart, Setcrsea purpurea (tender perennial or houseplant) 4. Coleus 5. Lobelia
The shady area at the side of the house has been kept low maintenance with a simple concrete walkway and a neat row of shade lovers that include hosta, Bleeding Heart (Dicentra), Solomon Seal (Polygonatum), Japanese Ferns (Anthyrium) and Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia).
As you move down the walkway and get closer to the backyard, growing conditions get a bit sunnier allowing for plants like the clematis that you see in the next images.
If you have a small garden, be on the lookout this spring for some of these newer varieties of clematis that reach a height of just four to six feet.
At the back of the house, a pergola shades the stone patio from the hot afternoon sun.
The homeowner has a gift for composing perfect little vignettes.
In the backyard, the fence has been stained charcoal, which sets off the fresh
green of the plantings very nicely.
1. Boxwood frames the flowerbed 2. Two fragrant lavender plants 3. A round boxwood 4. Making its way up the fence is a Climbing Hydrangea 5. Columnar Copper Beech
Hosta are planted right behind the birdbath.
Columnar Copper Beech
In a small garden, a columnar tree is a great way to add privacy over and above the separation that a simple fence provides. The growth of a columnar tree is narrow and upright, so you have privacy without the shade that a tree with a wider canopy would generate.
Container plantings throughout the space add nice hits of color.
Plants here include: Japanese Maple, Hosta, a Hydrangea, Alliums, Solomon Seal
Columnar Copper Beech and Climbing Hydrangea
In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a low maintenance garden– just to water the containers in this garden each day would take a couple of hours, but with proper attention in the spring, I think most people would find the workload here very manageable.
Spring Chores: Certainly you'd want to add a top dressing of leaf mold or compost each spring to keep the plants happy and healthy. The planting is fairly dense, so any weeds would have lots of competition. A generous covering of mulch would reduce the need to do any weeding even further. Other chores might include regular pruning, a bit of deadheading and of course you'd have to water when the garden gets really dry. All and all, the upkeep on a garden like this could be easily managed.
A pebble courtyard gives the garden a European feel. Blue fabric cushions and large blue pots make the garden feel fresh even on a hot day.
Wouldn't this be the perfect place to spend a summer's afternoon?