Adele Medina O’Dowd, principal, dogwood*design, llc
contact me | email@example.com or 202.255.0728
references available upon request
My friends, the owners in Chevy Chase, MD, wanted a relaxing, stylish spot to entertain their friends and family. They wanted their backyard to remind them of the beautiful places they’d visited on European travels. Of course, their patio needed to be a personal space with an intimate scale, but inspired by old world charm. The owners, who are into gardens but not gardening per se, wanted the yard to be easy to care for. My friends were so nice to act as my first guinny pigs and we started from scratch with a narrow yard of compacted red clay soil, just after they completed their new kitchen renovation. The layout of the yard is formal, with a fountain (coming soon) on one end, balanced on both with 5 tall columnar trees each. But, the ambiance is fresh and comfortable with hydrangeas and camellias flowing over short boxwood headges. The new stone patio with a seat wall and a fireplace has become warm outdoor room for them to enjoy.
Buxus fastigiata | Boxwood (columnar)
Buxus microphylla var. koreana x B. sempervirens ‘Green Mountain’
Buxus microphylla var. koreana x B. sempervirens ‘Green Gem’
Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Justin Brouwers’ | Boxwood
Camellia x ‘Snow Flurry’ | Hardy Camellia fall bloomer
Carex elata ‘Aurea’ | Bowles Golden Grass
Deutzia gracilis | Slendar Deutzia
Hydrangea panicullata ‘Limelight’
Hypericum calycinum ‘Briggadoon’ | St. John’s Wort
Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ | Sky Pencil Littleleaf Holly
Miscanthus senensis ‘Strictus’ | Porcupine Grass
Prunus yeodensis ‘Yoshino’ | Japanese Cherry Blossom
Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’ | Weeping Cherry
Rose ‘New Dawn’ | Blush Pink hardy climbing rose
Thuja occidentallis ‘Degroot’s Spire’ | Degroot’s Sprire Arborvitae
PA field stone seat wall, 18″ high with topped with copping
PA flagstone patio mixed colors laid in stone dust (for better water perculation)
Irrigation system installed on a timer
4.5′ tall, 5′ wide 2 tiered self-contained fountain
4′ tall fire pit with wrought iron decoration
wrought iron rose trellises.
The style of this garden doesn’t lend itself to easy care. But the owners are fully self-aware of their own capabilities and have weighed their priorities. Regular pruning will be needed, but it is made easy because the owners were interested and ready to commit to a maintenance contract. On a “green” note, water is not wasted here. We have installed an irrigation system on a timer to direct water exactly to plants that need it, as needed. In fact, a rain detector, basically a spongey sensor hooked up to the system, automatically adjusts the water flow when irrigation is not needed in periods of rain. Also, providing just the right amount of water means there is little or no run-off into storm drains. Last, because the stone patio was set in place with stone dust instead of concrete, water can percolate into the ground through to the earth below it. The owners travel a lot but know their plants will remain happy and healthy because they have other care systems in place. They feel they have made a terrific investment and will have a lot of fun in the space they created. If you’d like to check out the nitty gritty of process, see it here.
[Above: My friend's sister inaugurated the new patio by renewing her wedding vows here the day after planting was complete on her 25th anniversary. White rose petals decorate the patio floor.]
[Below : Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight']
Ok, so the fireplace ornament still needs to be hung up.