Sometimes you just need to seek professional help. (It's not what you think!) A year and a half ago, after we built an addition to our farmhouse, we were left with a ripped-up dirt patch as a front lawn. My husband wanted a traditional front lawn with a path to our new front entrance, while I saw this as an opportunity to try something out of the ordinary. I was looking for a little drama.
In my role as editor, I have visited many private gardens and talked with landscape architects and designers. Gardens in the hands of these experts have structure, texture and an element of surprise—exactly what I wanted for our home. We thought we could create a plan ourselves but soon realized we were in over our heads. We decided to call a landscape designer whose work I had admired for years.
The landscaper created a series of six parterres from boxwood and installed a Bluestone path that winds from our new driveway through the parterres and ends at the front door. The pathway, however circuitous, offers visitors a chance to take in the garden. Deep purple Verbena bonariensis were planted inside the parterres for an explosion of summer color. Two Japanese dogwoods offer visual height and pretty pink blooms in spring. Hedges of forsythia line two sides of the property. The house is outlined by a series of larger boxwoods, which are underplanted with pachysandra. And ivy with a hint of crimson grows up the stone of an old chimney.
As promised, the garden's shape holds through all the seasons. In winter, the parterres look beautiful in the snow. Last fall, we decided to add alliums in the squares so that we could have some early color. The alliums are already showing themselves, and soon large purple globes will fill these spaces.
I still love my garden. I feel confident that we will continue to add to its design and allow it to evolve, as any good garden should. As we enter the height of the growing season here, my advice is simple: engage a professional. You did it for the interior of your house—now do it for the exterior. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Editor in Chief
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