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Garden Design: New Construction in an Old Neighborhood

French Country Style Home You don't have to be a gardener to see how plants make a house appear more settled into its surroundings. Embraced by trees, shrubs, flowers and foliage a building looks comfortable in its space. Like it belongs. This is exactly the result I was striving for when I took on a new construction project in an established neighborhood.

The clients called me during the throes of construction to help them create a landscape that was harmonious with the site and their new French Country style home.

This garden presented three challenges: a sloping lot, limited outdoor space and the homeowners wanted the newly constructed house and garden in balance with their 100-year-old neighborhood.

Making Limited Space Seem Larger

The house sat on a 150 x 100 foot lot that was hemmed in on all sides so there wasn't much wiggle room. Odd as it may sound, dividing the space into rooms actually made it feel larger. Each of the garden rooms flowed into to next forming a circuit around the house. This also allowed us to use every square inch including the narrow passage on the side of the house. Rose Crepescule

Adding a Patina to a New House and Garden

Planting large trees and shrubs helped speed up the maturity of the garden, as did softening the walls with climbing roses and vines.

We selected an antique rose from the 1830s called 'Crepescule' to grow over the front door. The varieties 'New Dawn' and 'Colette' rest on top of a low wall.

To connect the French Country style with the home's Southern United States location, we chose plants compatible to both regions, such as rosemary, agapanthus and Italian Cypress. Columnar English oaks, European hornbeams and Russian olive were also planted to help achieve the look.

Leveling the Slope

Stone Gate and Steps The site itself was challenging because of its elevations. The ground dropped 40 feet from the street level on the north side of the property the south side. Rather than fighting the slope we embraced it with a series of terraces and stepped paths.