One of the most attractive things about Ansley Park is its intriguing mix of architecture. An eclectic array of home styles lines the sidewalks throughout the old Midtown neighborhood, where houses are built close to wide, curving streets. Those same sidewalks often bring pedestrians within earshot of front porches, which for residents can be both good and bad. The challenge becomes creating a garden with an inviting entrance that enhances the home’s curb appeal but one that also provides a sense of privacy.
Towering hollies, a winding stone pathway and white-blooming plants form a garden of delight
A bank of fat hollies obscured the view of Lynn and Malcolm Young’s house when they bought the quaint cottage 12 years ago. “Every landscaper said to take them out because you couldn’t see the house, but I said ‘no’ because I liked them,” Lynn says.
What she really liked was the fact that behind the screen of hollies she could create a semi-private, intimate retreat with a small stone terrace that allows her to enjoy the garden. To create a sense of intrigue for what’s behind the hedge—and to encourage air circulation—Lynn keeps the hollies limbed up like low-growing trees, which also affords her a glimpse of the street.
An old curved stone pathway draws visitors from the sidewalk, past the screens and up to the front door. There, Boston ivy snakes its way up the stucco wall, blanketing the house in a lush green that softens the façade and makes it nearly fade away.
The screen of hollies offers a design element as well; it lends a solid green backdrop to a wide bed of perennials, accented with Lynn’s favorite yard ornament finds. “I really wanted the yard to look like an English garden—but a funky take on it,” she says.
And because the garden is heavily shaded, Lynn relies on white-blooming plants for contrast. “I’ve tried to keep it all green and white, but every now and then I’ll slip and let some other color in,” she says. “When I go to the nursery I look for anything that’s white and will grow in the shade.”
In the end, the cottage garden beckons passersby for a closer glimpse at what lies beyond the hollies—yet still affords the Youngs a shroud of privacy when they want to drink in a quiet summertime evening outdoors.
New Made Old
New construction gets a taste of old-world charm with an elegant and unexpected garden entrance
When Jerry and Carolyn Allison bought their house five years ago, the front yard held little except a carpet of ivy. “It just didn’t have the right look for the house, which was new, and we wanted it to look old,” Carolyn says. “We also wanted the garden to look more natural and less structured.”
With the help of garden designers at Planters, the Allisons achieved that look. Their first order of business was to extend a bluestone pathway from the side driveway to the front porch, instead of the more predictable path—from the street to the porch. “We wanted the garden to welcome you as you came up to the front door,” designer Tyne Martinez says, “yet we didn’t want to invite traffic from the street, which is a busy one.”
The ivy-covered yard separating the porch from the street was replaced with pachysandra, a low-growing ground cover that provides a lush ground cover that thrives in the shade.
Flanking the front steps are globe-shaped boxwoods that anchor perennial beds spilling with hostas, ferns and hellebores. “The goal was to choose plants for different seasons of interest but designed in a nontraditional way,” Martinez says.
For color, the Allisons rely on container gardens placed on the porch and throughout the yard, often planted with small shrubs but freshened seasonally with complementary annuals.
The result is a garden that’s inviting while lending a visual barrier between the sidewalk and the porch—and one that has the charm of an old manor walk.
“It kind of reminds me of my grandmother’s garden,” Carolyn says.
GARDEN DESIGN Planters (404) 261-6002