Evolving over a span of approximately four years, this particular landscape construction project in Annapolis is a good example of sustainable practice, combined with a low-maintenance landscape design philosophy, that is characteristic of Architectural Gardens.
Although attractive, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson felt that there was not enough color in the existing front landscape which consisted mainly of evergreen shrubbery that was aged and overgrown. The client’s desire was “to improve the look of our property and create interest in our outdoor space.”
The initial phase of work, in a new landscape master plan, entailed re-organizing and transplanting existing shrubs and groundcovers in suitable locations. Then, new plant material was installed for color and multi-seasonal interest. The result is that the front of the home and portico are now more visible and the home’s architecture is enhanced instead of being hidden.
This ‘before’ picture of the overgrown bed is taken from the front portico.
In this ‘after’ picture, the scale of the landscape material proportionally dresses the front of the home with additional color, without hiding or overwhelming it. Larger shrubs and trees are located farther from the home at a visually pleasing distance.
As you proceed around to the side, this picture is the ‘before’ view taken from the back yard.
Initially, Mr. Jackson’s goal was to maintain as much lawn as possible. Architectural Gardens advised that grass would be very hard to maintain in this area, as the existing trees created shade conditions and root competition. Abiding by the client’s wishes, an intermediate phase was implemented to preserve a lawn grass egress while incorporating cultivated garden beds with the existing trees. In the end, the Jacksons put their trust in Architectural Gardens to utilize best conservation management practice and continue to protect the natural shade-covered environment, while giving guests interactive access to the rear yard. “…not really knowing what we wanted and needing to rely on someone else’s expertise – (i.e. not knowing appropriate plants for available conditions, lighting requirements, watering, etc).”
So, the plan evolved in a final phase, and a terraced woodland path was created using PA fieldstone steppers in harmony with existing grade changes and native plants. The footpath leads you from the front of the house, to the right and down the side, to the private outdoor living space in the rear. Appropriate shade-loving plants line the path. Pathway installation utilizes large PA flagstone with seams that allow water to percolate into the ground. This practice reduces run-off that would occur if non-porous surface material was used exclusively in the hardscape plan. Here is the view from the front toward the right side.
Lighting is low-voltage and is used sparingly at step areas and at other critical points in the pathway.
Working with the existing tree canopy, overall lawn area has been reduced and a more natural, low-maintenance setting has been created by integrating woodland gardens and paths, especially where a traditional lawn would be difficult and costly to maintain. “AG thoroughly proposed beautiful improvements to our property. They explained their ideas during the proposal stage of our projects and implemented the proposed design in a timely and careful way. AG takes a proactive approach to the ongoing management of our property by [proposing] needed improvements and maintenance, and recommending other vendors for services they don’t provide (i.e. sprinkler system, feeding large trees (diseased), too many trees (and [the] need [for them] to be removed).”
Additional work then continued in the rear yard. A stone path connects the existing deck and the woodland path to a sunken rear patio with a seat wall composed of Western MD stacked stone. The rear yard portion of the master plan also includes extensive rework of plant material to be in agreement with the existing conditions. The path and the new sunken patio give the client extended outdoor living space while appearing to flow naturally into the woodland setting.
The Jacksons have been patient with nature, allowing the gardens to mature, and they have trusted Architectural Gardens to create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor design over time. Ultimately, it is a plan that is in harmony with the natural surroundings and leaves a softer foot print in the environment. These clients are pleased with the results and had this to say, “Missy and Tim have an excellent eye for landscape design; [they] understand the complexity of an overall design project, and work hard to provide what they promise to do. They know the business and are honest. [The] crew is competent and careful in their implementation. With an unlimited budget, I would hire them full time to manage the grounds. Hire Missy – you won’t be sorry. They are the best.”