Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden

Inspiring Garden Design: Revealed in Stages

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Photo Credit: David Schilling Photography

We’ve all experienced that wonderful sensation of having seen a picture that lingers in our consciousness — and sometimes even our subconscious. Such was the case with this garden image (above), which I saw in Veranda magazine many years ago.

Last spring, when I was in Atlanta, serendipity came knocking. While visiting two designers, I looked out the 2nd floor window of their home and, lo and behold, there in the distance was the scene that had appeared inVeranda. Of course I was viewing this in early spring of 2019, so understandably the vision was not exactly the same, but the “bones” were still there. No surprise that this centerpiece was created by Dan Berman and Randy Korando of Boxwoods Gardens and Home fame. Obviously, this is a verdant creation worthy of study — perfect for this 2020 edition of my “Inspiring Garden Design” series.

All the more intriguing, too, because it is on a busy street on a very narrow lot. But it plays big because of an understanding of good design, taking full advantage of the lot’s sharp drop off at the back, which is very typical of this part of the old Northwest Atlanta residential area. To some, this might be perceived as a handicap. But in the hands of Dan and Randy it was a welcome challenge. While many flat gardens have “rooms” of green that separate the garden into experiences, this garden is revealed in a descending series of stages, making the experience both intriguing and compelling. And here, it is handled smartly to enhance both easy and gracious entertaining.

Immediately off the kitchen is a small patio with a clever trompe l’oeil mirrored and ivy-traced wall that creates the sense of a greater space.

From there, you descend a few stops to a larger terrace, one obfuscated from the other by a cleverly positioned Japanese maple (it pays to have curves in the right places).

Here, design decisions accentuate the hallmark of a good courtyard terrace — privacy and tranquility.

An interesting statement is made by greening the entire height of the house overlooking this space.

The rustic-in-its-own-way fireplace pairs well, too, with the green wall, contributing another dramatic note.

From here, a tree shaded meandering path leads you down to the “greenhouse” and then to the lawn with a pool. Along the way, a bench provides a quiet spot to sit and ponder.

Bringing us full circle to the scene that had initiated this blog…the greenhouse fronted by the stucco wall and balustrade, inferring a Palladian heritage.

These architectural elements are a backdrop to curved clipped box recalling the “broderie” of formal French gardens. Steps pass between these two green statements to lead to a masterfully designed pool with limestone coping and stone finials.

Today’s appearance has a slightly different face (Dan and Randy have just sold the property) — more rustic in feel. But both images are testimony to a fundamental gardening precept — good design is first beholden to good “bones.”

Photo Credit: David Schilling Photography

Thank you again, Dan and Randy…

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

8 thoughts on “Inspiring Garden Design: Revealed in Stages

  1. That’s one of the cleverest and most beautiful garden settings I’ve seen. I can see why it lingered in your memory, Bettie. It will in mine too. ( I’m blown away)

  2. Loving that moss covered stone table! Also how private and secluded it feels considering its near a busy street!

  3. I want a mirror on a garden wall just like theirs-the ultimate in trompel’oeil.
    The conservatory at Longwood Gardens in Delaware has mirrored walls from the “waist down…” and when the hydrangeas and blue pansies, etc. are planted there in late spring, the blue goes into infinity. The Boxwood Geniuses have a “baby” infinity space. What clever, creative guys and what gorgeous photography.

  4. So happy to have read and viewed this on a cold, rain, sleet, and snow filled day…warms my heart and makes me smile. Thank you. PS. On my list for spring is to find where a mirror might be placed 🙂

  5. You always have such lovely pictures and I always see something in them I want. The January posting on garden design has two metal french looking chairs and they are also pictured at a dining room table on a patio. Any idea where they can be purchased.

    1. Hello Debbie, thank you for your kind words! Those metal chairs are “antiques,”the owners have a wonderful shop in Atlanta (Boxwoods)that has treasures like those.
      Happy spring! xB

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