Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Planting Ideas -

Out­side in

Even while Larry was still plan­ning his en­ergy-ef­fi­cient home, he was think­ing about how the sur­round­ing gar­den would both flat­ter the house’s de­sign and di­rect the eye out over the views of the sur­round­ing farm­land and then on to the moun­tains be­yond.

Ev­ery el­e­ment in the gar­den is in­tended to com­ple­ment the ar­chi­tec­ture of the house so that both house and gar­den had a sim­i­lar feel. For a gar­den that pri­mar­ily uses grasses and wild­flow­ers, there is a lot of for­mal struc­ture.

Sen­tinel tow­ers of Thuja oc­ci­den­talis ‘De­g­root’s Spire’ are re­peated through­out the gar­den, used as ver­ti­cal punc­tu­a­tion marks to the many or­na­men­tal grasses that add depth, vol­ume and tex­ture to the gar­den. When you view the gar­den from a dis­tance, you no­tice how they cre­ate a re­cur­ring pat­tern and pro­vide a sense of rhythm, but while you’re in­side the gar­den they add an air of mys­tery, ob­scur­ing some views un­til you turn a cor­ner, and en­cour­ag­ing you to ex­plore fur­ther.

The gar­den feels like an ex­ten­sion of the house – just as Larry hoped it would – al­ways try­ing to draw you out­side to ex­plore along its net­work of paths that of­fer a mul­ti­tude of dif­fer­ent ways to nav­i­gate your way around the gar­den.

Clock­wise from top leftA low plant­ing of Ses­le­ria au­tum­nalis cuts across the gravel path­way lead­ing to the house. On the right, taller Cala­m­a­grostis x acu­ti­flora ‘Karl Fo­er­ster’ is punc­tu­ated by tall columns of Thuja oc­ci­den­talis ‘De­g­root’s Spire’ and box­wood cones. The metal plant-sup­ports, or tu­teurs, topped by stain­less steel gaz­ing balls are an­other re­cur­ring theme through­out the gar­den. The path to the pool ter­race takes you past tall Rud­beckia lacini­ata on one side and the vig­or­ous grass Ely­mus are­nar­ius ‘Blue Dune’, which re­quired the use of a root bar­rier to stop it from spread­ing, on the other planted along­side the tall pur­ple-flow­er­ing Ver­nonia fas­ci­c­u­lata. The liv­ing room of Larry’s en­ergy-ef­fi­cient home fea­tures a wide ex­panse of glass that pro­vides stun­ning views over out over the Sol­idago meadow, and cre­ates the feel­ing that house and gar­den work as one. Low-grow­ing Hakonechloa macra ‘Al­boau­rea’ and Liri­ope spi­cata form waves of green around ap­ple trees that were res­cued from a lo­cal or­chard, and the re­peat­ing columns of Thuja oc­ci­den­talis ‘De­g­root’s Spire’. In the fore­ground, the ris­ing spikes of Mis­cant­hus sinen­sis ‘Ze­bri­nus’ echo the gold and green of the hakonechloa and liri­ope fo­liage.

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