As I was strolling through the front landscape’s parklike setting this past weekend, it occurred to me that I’d been focusing my thoughts, and camera, on the blooms in the gardens and the back courtyard. Now, with summer in full swing and friends coming over, it’s time to share the front courtyard (above feature image) with you, my readers.
In many ways, this courtyard is a capsule of the details used throughout the grounds, from the just-so size of the paths and driveway pebbles, to the large, old cobblestones whose “aprons” appear at both the street entrance as well as the front courtyard entry and defining the edge of the circle.
Together with the color of the three-coat stucco, the limestone quoins, and the old slate roof, careful consideration of all these little details comprise the finished look we envisioned when designing Parterre.
A French Normandy-style home would traditionally have a straight driveway from the street to the front door but we are tree lovers. It was the beech closest to the site of the new house which prompted us to ignore the traditional and create a winding driveway with a circular courtyard, thereby saving this beech, which is now centered on an island of moss. And let me not forget the stone bollards, with chains, that follow the curve of the circle…what I refer to affectionately as my “string of pearls.”
I’ve attempted to give you a sense of actually visiting Parterre with sequential images of approaches to, around, and exiting the courtyard. We start with the specimen tree, Sophora japonica ‘Pendula’, which greets you at the juncture of the driveway leading (left) to the back courtyard and (right) to the front courtyard.
Stepping stones lead from the courtyard to the garden gate.
Then continuing to the front door…
Exiting the driveway, you’re afforded views of a small out building with iron rose trellises and a young version of a ‘Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ (on the left) to match the mature one across the lawn (our take on an “heir and a spare”).
After twenty-two years, our new home is all “cozied-in” with clipped hedges, specimen shrubs, and under-canopy trees. It is such a sheer delight to drive up the driveway each day and see this welcoming view–I never tire of pretending I’m a guest in my own home, visiting for the first time.