Sunday, August 8, 2010

August Field Trip

Some of my readers may recall that last October I posted an essay entitled "Rock The Slope". Included were pictures of a rock garden that I had recently installed for clients who own a large parcel of land that straddles the Connecticut/Rhode Island border. The property, of which I'm quite envious, includes a mill pond with a rushing brook and waterfall, a few out buildings and an historic Barrel Mill that my clients converted into a charming residence. Last year I promised to share some photos of the other projects which I have completed on the property and thought the dog days of August might be an opportune time to take a virtual field trip.

During our initial consultation more than five years ago, my clients asked me to include a swimming pool in their master plan. I'm a firm believer that in the Northeast whenever possible pools should be hidden from view. After all for almost eight months of the year a swimming pool is little more than a cement hole covered with a tarp. After analyzing various options I placed a pool garden parallel to the foundation of their existing barn. The siting of the pool seemed a logical choice and brought a sense of order to the randomness of their property. I enclosed the entire garden, which contains an arbor, patios and a twenty by sixty foot rectangular pool, with a black chain link fence hidden by privet hedges.

My clients already owned a dramatic pair of wrought iron gates, which made a wonderful addition to the garden.To further integrate the barn into the new design, I centered a parterre on its facade.

The parterre serves as an entrance to the pool garden and connects it with a flower-filled rock garden that leads back up to the main house.

The parterre is laid out in a simple geometric design and its beds are planted with boxwoods, low maintenance roses and perennials punctuated by tree-form lilacs and hydrangeas. The centerpiece of the parterre is a fountain that I fashioned out of a mill wheel, one of a number that my clients found on the property. The granite wheel sits on a sunken fiberglass basin filled with the same peastone used on the pathways. Water spilling over the fountain's sides seems to magically disappear into the gravel walkway.

As for the rock garden on the far side of the house, it is filling in nicely. I think that its palette, a subdued combination of greens and whites, subtly compliments the adjoining pond and woods.