Sometimes the long, narrow yards that surround townhouses can be a challenge, in this case, it was an opportunity to play with the division of space. I wanted to see how a such a space could be divided so that it didn’t feel like a bowling ball lane, but rather a series of rooms to either pass through or sit within.
I sketched out various options, some had a more naturalistic feel, others were more geometric and contemporary. The client and I decided to go with the latter because it fit the style of the newly constructed townhouse better.
The existing yard contained the bare minimum of what the builder could get away with and still get a permit. Thus, the yard contained mostly gravel surfaces, a few arborvitae shrubs, and a strip of lawn only 5 feet wide. Again, a challenge became an opportunity as we decided to use the gravel in the paths rather than haul it away to make space for a different material.
We added some concrete steps to allow for a less steep transition from the upper area to the lower patio. The gravel remained un-edged with the intention that the ground cover, a collection of sedums, would fill in to create a natural boundary. Other plants included in the palette were Cornus ‘Elegantissima’, Pittosporum ‘Wheeler dwarf’, Phormium varieties and Miscanthus ‘Morning light’. Brightly colored Loll furniture was a favorite of this client ( and has become popular with many subsequent clients) so it was fun to see how much the red chairs added a vivid contrast to the surrounding greenery -way more exciting than my original sketch!
Despite the lush serenity of the garden, about a year ago, my clients decided to move out of this townhouse. But they didn’t move far, in fact, they moved down the street and hired me to design their new even more challenging yard! The garden proved to be a huge selling point with the new owners who cited it as one of the main things that attracted them to this house. Soon I will document what we were able to do at the new property down the street- in a space most people would not even consider for a garden, but it works! So stay tuned!