Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's All In The Details

This is a fountain created at a home in Hohokus , NJ made from an antique stone trough from Holland , a lions head fountain mounted on a bluestone slab and a custom made trellis.

I was asked to lecture this March to the Tenafly Garden Club. A couple of years ago I lectured to this group on the history and method of garden design. So this year I thought I would go further into designing a home landscape by focusing on the role of details in the garden. Details can be anything from a piece of sculpture or antique iron work to a water feature, selection of stepping stones for a path, or a rock retaining wall. Details are the little accents and features we work into a design which individualizes and distinguishes a landscape. Here are a couple of examples in some gardens I have done over the last few years.

Here we flanked the entrance to the driveway with 2 custom small iron fences and a pair of lovely planter cast stone planters

Garden details can be a combination of materials and plants used to focus attention or high light an area. The fence and urn above was chosen in stead of the more massive stone pillars commonly used to frame entrances to grander homes in our area. I think this solution offered a softer look, more individualized design and a chance to vary color and theme by season with the plantings in the urn.

Travertine inset in a home path

In this photo above a detail was made in a front walk using scalloped stone tiles made from the same travertine material as the walk. Putting in this framed detail added a lot of character and individuality to this home's front path. This detail was just near the curb end and a second one was inserted just before the front door like a welcome mat of stone.

19th C. garden astrolabe

The antique astrolabe in the center of this garden was the perfect addition to the plantings. Our client actually found it at an antique garden fair . It became the crowning touch to the replanting of this garden.

Sometimes a change in the planting scheme or a group of different color and texture plants can be an interesting detail in a shrub border as shown below.

A green Japanese Maple flanked by miniature boxwood form a corner detail to a long planting bed

Don't be afraid to experiment with garden details. Use rocks, artwork, even tropical plants set out in movable pots. They can add fun, color and excitement to a garden.

Arnie Friedman, Feb. 2011