Quick note: I know the holiday cards are taking their sweet time this year, and many are still in transit. If you’re looking for our holiday letter, it’s here. Hoping all the cards arrive by Valentine’s Day!
Okay, I promised some updates on our spring plan for the garden that’s been wintering nicely since we hung up the shovels in November. I have a feeling this post could turn into a really long and rambling one, so I’m going to break it into a few pieces. I’ve been busy planning a lot this January, so I have a lot to share, but as per usual, it’s now past bedtime on a Sunday evening. The landscape part of the garden is very exciting, but I’m going to start with the structure of it, and then go from there.
I’ve organized a two to three year plan on this space, based mostly on finishing up the hardscape items and then layering in plantings in spring and fall as appropriate. I know this will stretch out for several seasons for time and cost reasons – and hopefully it will always be a good garden for experimenting too.
There are a few key things I’d like to get in place this spring though, because I really hope we can throw some kind of outdoor high school graduation party for family and friends in late May / early June. This will require getting to work in February, as soon as the temperatures are bearable. That short list is long on effort, and has some significant costs and lead times as well, so we need to get moving. We need to finish installing the large limestone steps at the walk and the entrance to the garden terrace. After those are set, we need to finish out the ends of the walls as they reach our house. We ran short of stone, but not a full pallet’s worth, so it would be good to get both the steps and the remaining block delivered at the same time.
Then we need to finish the paver base for our walk, remove the final concrete at the gate, and start laying bricks – transferring bricks from our rear patio to the front walk. We also need to install the pavers that will go under our custom steel planters that will be installed in front of the stone walls at the front – and those planters need to be ordered and in fabrication soon. I also want to repaint the front fence. The last hardscape item is the center “paved” area of the garden – we want a generous terrace in this garden – large enough to sit outside and hang out with neighbors and friends. The new walls and steps will also offer a lot of seating space, and we’ll add some new furniture at some point out here as well.
I’ve thought about a lot of different options for this area, but I continue to go back to the idea of installing a pebble mosaic terrace here. I bought a handbook years ago, and have long collected images and sketches of mosaics – from Genoa, where I first fell in love with them, as well as numerous other gardens and residences.
I also have a few projects earmarked in my book, and the techniques and information about materials is guiding my research right now.
I really love the colors in this design, and I’m hoping that I can find stones in these three shades. I think they will look great with the colors of our house.
F and I did a little local research, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to have to source some of the material from a little farther away. There are a lot of great resources, so hopefully we can find what we need. Calculating the amount will be the tricky part!
I did check in with MoBot to see where they sourced the stones in their Chinese Garden, but they came from… China – so that wasn’t too helpful!
Any pebble mosaic requires some type of edge restraint, so I thought the bricks installed on their end might might a nice border. You might remember we have a huge stack of broken bricks in the yard that we could use.
So I took some time this weekend to jump back into our house’s Revit model, starting with one idea, that quickly ballooned to nine! None of these is THE one yet, but they helped me understand what could be done, and they give me a lot of resources to come back to when I have some stones sourced. The size of the stones and the colors are what will ultimately drive the final design, but I think there are a lot of really great ways to go here, and all of them will look spectacular in this yard.
I’m drawing inspiration from many of the sketches and photos above – from my travels and drawings and photos. I also thought it might be nice to take some of the existing details on our intricate cornice and brackets just above this garden as a very site specific variation of some of the patterns you’ll see here. I used the Cad files that M made a couple of years ago when we restored our cornice – tracing over some of those shapes and then scaling and replicating them in some of these designs.
Further refinement will happen, but these are all kind of fun to consider. I’ll catch you up on the landscaping plans next weekend, and will incorporate some of these ideas into it.