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“I Love Your Garden”
Designers brighten Washington yards with relaxing patios, woodsy paths, lush water gardens, and more.
Fire and Water
Scott Brinitzer Design Associates in Arlington created gardens in both the front and the back of this Bethesda house. In the backyard—shown at left and above—the stucco fireplace, designed by Brinitzer’s firm, and the small stone wall next to it are made of the same materials as those used in the five-year-old house. The terrace around the pool is bluestone; the rest of the stone is fieldstone from the local Carderock Quarries.
In front of the fireplace, Brinitzer created a “cutout” in the terrace so its size wouldn’t seem imposing. Shown in the photo above, it’s filled with Korean boxwoods and small magnolia trees from the series called Little Girls; this variety is called Jane. They’re similar to tulip magnolias, but the blooms appear a week to ten days later, so frost is less likely to kill them. The trees are lovely all year, says Brinitzer, who likes the bark’s color in winter and the leaves’ shape in summer.
The biggest challenge was the front yard, shown at left. It was on a slope that dropped 14 feet on the left side of the house, so Brinitzer leveled the yard with terraces and added such plants as serviceberry trees, the groundcover pachysandra, English boxwood, and English ivy.
Two Paths to Wander
Sleek Urban Retreat
William Morrow Garden Design & Landscaping in Emmitsburg turned the small backyard of this 19th-century townhouse in DC’s Kalorama into a virtual courtyard with a container garden. To make the 650-square-foot black-granite patio seem larger, Morrow had the fence painted a glossy black. Its horizontal lines draw the eye around and add to the feeling of spaciousness, as do the three-foot-square granite tiles—quarried in China—and two-foot-square white pots filled with purple smoke bushes. The planters are illuminated in the evening.
The ginkgo trees along the white wall alternate with daphne odora bushes, which have a jasminelike fragrance. The balcony above the courtyard, shown at right, is made of ipe—a durable tropical hardwood—and outfitted with Janus et Cie furniture. From there, the owners can relax and watch their three children play on the patio below.
In the pool’s waterfall, a metal piece makes it look as though the water is pouring directly from the stone wall. Along this part of the pool, plantings include hydrangeas and nandina, sometimes called heavenly bamboo.