Design Ideas | Garden Rooms
Dunbarton Oaks, Washington DC: There are so many beautiful “Garden Rooms” to experience at Dunbarton Oaks. We are so lucky to be able to visit and barrow from this joyous place. Even the surrounding park and Georgetown neighborhood have bountiful inspiration. I visited on the most gorgeous October day with my two daughters who were so drawn into the garden rooms that I had a hard time keeping them together and going in the direction I wanted to go. Each of us was attracted to different spaces and even though this is a formal garden, they played and galloped happily enjoying the colors, textures and especially the transitions.
ABOVE: Here are two adjacent rooms dressed up in fall colors. The one on the left is a couple steps down from the one on the right. Taking this photo, my perspective was from a wonderful wrought iron balcony (see below) in a third room – the rose garden. Each room in this big garden has a well-designed view to at least one and usually more adjacent rooms. This is what created the sense of journey we felt as we explored. The patio on the left, makes you feel as though you are surrounded by water, when really there is only a little still water which acts like a glassy floor under the pavilion (see Lucy playing in the “glass floor” two photos down).
ABOVE: The fluid lines of the concrete patio edging make you feel as though you are inside of a fountain.
Every room in this garden has beautiful attention to walls, ceiling and especially the floor.
ABOVE: This is Lily in the “Prunus Walk” hallway orchard. Lining the path is epimedium for ground cover with warm brick edging the aggregate walkway. The growing garden is to the right downhill and the vegetable garden to the left uphill, now in fall is filled with windflowers.
ABOVE: The famous pleeched American Hornbeams Caropinus caroliniana a.k.a. the “aerial hedge”. The circular shape of this room couldn’t be made more apparent than by the shaping of these cool trees as walls.
ABOVE: “Pebble Garden” has THE most amazing floor, as you can plainly see. The 4″ high raised bed is planted with sedum amoung other things. The walls in ths room are covered with lattice. There is a beautiful espalied magnolia on one wall to the left and just beyond it a wonderful window with a view (below). Lily and Lucy couldn’t resist laying themselves down smack in the middle of the stone design (Two photos down).
ABOVE: Then we couldn’t resist going back for a look over the veranda to this view of the swimming pool, the “Pebble Garden” is just beyond and then of course you can see some majestic trees and rolling hills beyond that.
ABOVE: Here is one of my favorite rooms. This room is called the “Beech Terrace” where you can also see down the rolling hills and pool. But the simplicity of the ceiling here is fantastic. One unbelievable Beech tree shelters us, Fagis grandifolia. We can really appreciate it’s beauty this way. If I lived closer, I think I would read in this part of the garden. Its very quiet. Apparently, the roots of this tree are covered in blooming bulbs in teh spring. I can’t wait to see that.
BELOW: The finale – The “Orangery”. Many people start their tour in this room but I’m so glad this was our last sight. Covering the walls is a Fig tree that has been here since before the Civil War. YIKES! I’m in awe.