Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Garden of Many Rooms

Most gardeners focus their efforts on the backyard. In this case, the homeowner has directed much of her energies to a rectangular space at the side of a century home that may at one time have housed a garage. 

I doing so, she transformed a long narrow area into a series of courtyards or rooms. By partitioning the area according to function (outdoor dining, potting shed and seating areas) an awkward space has been made to feel wider and more generous. The view to the backyard is partially obstructed making each new room a delightful surprise.

This is not a Japanese garden, but there are many Asian influences. Although there is no raked sand, there is fine gravel and rocks. The lattice that provides privacy for dining area also has a oriental feel. Even the plantings, which are generally spare and textural rather than floral, have the minimalist aesthetic of a Japanese garden. 

The first "room" is a dining area complete with a table and chairs.

Wooden decking leads past the outdoor eating area to the back porch. The side of the house gets full sun in the hottest part of the day, so a pergola was constructed to create a little afternoon shade (see below).

Providing the dinner music is this classic water fountain.

This is a gardener who appreciates the unique color, shape, size and texture of stone. In the picture above, rocks and pebbles have been combined with pots of green ferns to make a little vignette. 

In other parts of the garden, craggy, moss covered rocks have been used to edge raised beds and flat, grey flagstone is mixed with fine pea gravel to form the central pathway that runs through the garden.

Here a few special rocks and crystals have even been gathered into a raised display.

A lean-to of vines transform the sunny porch into a shady retreat.

A container planting on top of a clay column.

Midway down the side yard is the potting area– the working heart of the garden.

Annuals in a container planting just behind the potting bench.

An nice mix of textures in the flowerbed beside the potting bench.


An Euonymus with golden variegation climbs up the side of an arbor.

The restricted color palette makes the journey down the central pathway feel serene. Finely-cut foliage also adds a certain softness to this part of the garden.

A mix of ferns and a Bleeding Heart surround a garden ornament 
that continues the oriental theme.

The plantings in front of the shed emphasize foliage texture and color. The Japanese Maple and the peach Heuchera add a hint of warm color to the mix of greens.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the color peach, but I have to admit that it looks stunning with the Fescue grass and the two blue-green hostas.

I am not sure of the exact cultivar here, but I will give you a reference to one that looks very similar.

Fancy-leaf Coral Bells, Heuchera 'Champagne' has foliage that changes from peach to gold to golden-champagne color over the season. Tall burgundy stems carry tiny, pale-peach flowers. This plant is adaptable to a range of garden soils and likes average to moist growing conditions. Part-shade to full shade. Height:25-30 cm (10-12 inches, Spread: 30-35 cm (12-14 inches). USDA zones: 4-9.
This Buddha seems to have found the perfect spot for meditation.

We're now in the backyard looking at the porch. Under the dappled shade of a lilac is an Alberta Spruce, a variety of ferns, a silvery Heuchera and a low mat of European Ginger.

Stones, at the foot of a concrete birdbath, appear to be casually arranged, but in the way of Japanese gardens, are placed in a way that is intentional.

European Wild Ginger, Asarum europaeum is a groundcover perfect for shady areas. It has glossy, green leaves and insignificant brownish flowers that tend to be hidden by the foliage. European Wild Ginger makes a great understory for hosta and ferns. Height: 10-15 cm (4-6 inches), Spread: 15-20 cm (6-8 inches). USDA zones: 2-9.

The backyard has a large grassy area with plantings 
around the perimeter, a shed and a hot tub.

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour.


  1. Is it a fairy tale ? Breathtaking! Stunning garden!!!

  2. Inspiring! Even though I live in Australia, there are many ideas and plants I could use looking at this garden. Congratulations to the gardener for having created such an interesting garden.

  3. There are so many fabulous ideas in this garden! Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Wow, another fantastic garden. I'm envious of the talents so many gardeners possess.

  5. Jennifer, this is one of my favorites!
    I love the idea of the "rooms," and these particular rooms are just gorgeous.
    Thank you for sharing here!

  6. Oui, c'est une magnifique balade dans un jardin superbe !


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