Lush Landscaping Beds
Smart planning sets the stage for a beautiful garden to grow
Story and Photographs by Sarah J. Dills, Sarah Dills Photography
One of the biggest problems in creating landscape design for home shows is that the landscapers have to make a young landscape look mature.
“They are planted really thick to give the appearance of a mature landscape. During the show everything looks great, but five years down the road we’re going in and removing plants because it’s overgrown,” says Andy Perrino, owner of Perrino Landscape.
While all homeowners want mature trees, flowering bushes and colorful flowers, Perrino says it is imperative to start with a solid foundation and then give the plants time to grow. This can be a long process for homeowners—especially for one of Perrino’s clients who wanted mature trees to provide privacy from the neighbors perched on the hills of Mt. Lookout above her house.
Fortunately, she happens to be an interior designer and is very familiar with the length of time it takes to create a design that’s right the first time.
Patience is a virtue
When the landscape team first began work on the newly constructed Mt. Lookout home seven years ago, it was all about the hardscaping.
“Because of our client’s background, she had a clear idea of what she was looking for in her outdoor living area,” Perrino says. “She wanted a patio large enough for entertaining – with a dining area, a living area around a fireplace, and a nice grill.”
The homeowner says she’d been looking to move for five years but couldn’t check everything off her wish list with one property until she stumbled upon one particular home in Mt. Lookout.
“It was a new home, still under construction, so I was able to make design decisions. Yet it was on a lot where an old home had been torn down, so it gave me the feeling of living in an old neighborhood,” the homeowner explains. “I have the best of both worlds.”
The only downside to the lot was the fact that her neighbors’ homes rested on the hills above. To address that issue, Norway spruce were planted to create a privacy wall.
“Seven years ago we had the conversation, ‘Today, it’s not going to quite provide the privacy you want, but eventually the evergreens will get large enough to provide that privacy’,” Perrino remembers. “She was confident, and now she has the landscaping we envisioned.”
Fleur de Flow
A meandering path invites guests from the driveway back to the patio area.
Perrino wanted to create a nice flow around the home – inviting guests in and keeping them intrigued enough to want to see what lies around the next corner.
“I wanted to keep people interested, so we placed a fountain along the path along with several plantings including two large dogwoods, creeping phlox, a butterfly bush and Endless Summer hydrangeas,” he says. “I also strategically placed the stone fireplace on a forty-five-degree angle so it could be seen from not only the path, but inside the house as well. It helps to invite people outdoors. You can get a glimpse of the fireplace through the solarium and living room of the home.”
The fireplace has become one of the homeowner’s favorite elements of her outdoor retreat. “On a cool day, I love to sit around the fire with a big blanket,” she explains. “It’s the little things in life that I enjoy.”
Another bed along the backside of the patio serves multiple purposes. “Blue holly trees and a flowering dogwood create some privacy and enclose the patio so people don’t feel like they’re falling off the patio into the lower back yard,” Perrino explains. “With outdoor living spaces it’s important to create walls with plantings.”
The sheltering tree
“I love gardening,” the homeowner says. “I plant flower pots and nurture them all summer long. I love the nurturing element of gardening.”
Also, the homeowner has selected trees to plant in memory of loved ones over the years. A river birch off the driveway was planted in memory of her father.
“We’ve created a little piece of heaven out here,” she adds.