Renewal on the River

On the banks of the Chattahoochee, a once overgrown site is treated to a lush makeover.

Empty nesters often turn their attention to reclaiming children’s rooms or basement play areas. But one Sandy Springs couple decided to recreate a portion of their 1.5-acre property that had been overgrown with ivy when they raised their three children.

Thanks to a transformation by Bellwether Landscape Architects, the couple are finally able to fully appreciate their Chattahoochee River home—whether it’s unwinding after work, canoeing and kayaking on the water, or hosting events such as their daughter’s wedding. Sited across the bank from trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, the home’s peaceful view will remain undisturbed.

To achieve their clients’ vision, Bellwether created a design plan that married the American Federal style of the front of the home with the Lowcountry river-house look of the back. “The house is very classic and charming,” says Missy M. Madden, Bellwether co-founder. “The homeowners were open to a clean slate.”

The landscape design shifts from formal to more organic as the property nears river’s edge. Bellwether refurbished the front landscape and added a new driveway with a textured mixture of limestone, pea gravel and reclaimed granite cobblestone. Closer to the house, the garden is more formal with clipped boxwoods, hydrangeas and a bluestone walkway.

A native serviceberry tree and a water feature made from a river boulder and add an organic appeal that harmonizes with the nearby water. A shed, once overgrown with ivy, now boasts fresh paint, while a new in-ground fire pit serves as the perfect site for outdoor gatherings.

The grown-up landscaping lends itself to entertaining for all occasions—whether an intimate get-together or a bustling fête. Occasionally, the Bellwether team even receives texts from the homeowners, both doctors, expressing their newfound love for their reimagined space. And that, of course, “is really the joy in that project,” says Bellwether co-founder H. Todd Yeager.

ARCHITECTURE Bellwether Landscape Architects. (404) 996-1232;