Decks shaped to suit a particular house, garden and view
Written by Mervyn Kaufman
Appropriately designed and built, a deck should mesh with the style of your home, as though part of the original plan. Ideally, a deck should also appear to flow out of interior living spaces and at the same rime provide an inviting link to the landscape, your lawn or garden. Properly treated and maintained—cleaned often and oiled yearly—woods like cedar, cypress, mahogany, redwood and bamboo make good deck choices. But if you lean toward being green, opt for composite, which resembles wood but is an ingenious blend of scrap wood and reclaimed plastic.
ELEGANT AERIE below: a tiny rooftop deck juts out toward a dramatic ocean view. Steel mesh completes a sturdy safety barrier without compromising that sweeping seaside vista. 5paces between long flooring planks allow water to drain through rather than stand, and the wood has also been treated to resist the elements, A pebbled border on three sides adds contrast and also effectively captures excess rainwater runoff.
"DECKS MUST CONFORM TO THE NATURAL LOOK OF THE SURROUNDING LANDSCAPE AND BE PRACTICAL IN SIZE FOR THE OWNERS' ENJOYMENT."
GORDON WHITTAKER, DECK DESIGNER-BUILDER, SEBASTOPOL, CALIFORNIA
FLORAL TRANSITION ABOVE: Planters crammed with colorful blooms are placed to create a pathway from the backyard to the patio door by way of a tri-level deck. Dense foliage around the yard's periphery forms a privacy screen, as the decks are entirely open. But flowers enhance each level, easing the shift from outdoors to indoors, and from indoors to outdoors. The lower level has a table for alfresco meals; the upper levels are more porch-like, with seating and dual views of the backyard.
CIRCLES AND SWIRLS above: a spherical stone fire pit is the centerpiece of this elegantly sculpted bi-level deck. The pit is the eye of a circle set into a rectangle, separating outdoor areas of Interest, Below the giant S-shaped railing that borders the upper deck, which has a dining area defined by the railing's curve, is a built-in bench that tracks the curves from end to end. No cumbersome lounge chairs are needed. Bright-patterned pillows arranged on the bench draw family members and friends to relax in this compelling outdoor setting.
OCTAGONAL ECHO BELOW: This bi-level deck, shaped like the shingled house it clings to, was built to float above native plantings and wind-whipped trees that cover a knoll above a gleaming Pacific bay. The lower deck, with solar-powered lights on poles, was designed for relaxing and entertaining. The upper level, which extends behind a buift-in bench, leads to the house's front door. To maximize nighttime safety, low-voltage lights are hidden In the riser (not shown). Steps beside the bench lead down to the garden area. ❖
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Spring is here, so pick up your shovels and start digging! Your yard and garden need all the attention you can spare this time of year. Give them their due now and they'll dazzle you with spectacular blooms for months to come.
Abundant and informal, this colorful dooryard garden creates a welcoming entrance
Written by Cynthia Van Hazinga
Mary Ann and George Betke couldn't be happier with their bold, flower-pa eked front-yard garden on the banks of the Damariscotta River in Maine. For Mary Ann, it's a dream fulfilled. "We've always lived on shady property," she says, "and though 1 longed for delphiniums, roses and daylilies, I could never grow them."Things changed when the Betkes moved to Damariscotta in 1996. They bought a farmhouse built in 1840, and started to garden with energy and enthusiasm. "We needed an instant garden," Mary Ann recalls, "since we were asked to be on the garden tour in 1997." That first year, they improved the brick-hard soil by adding loam, sand and manure and created a garden filled with pass-along plants donated by their neighbors.
That first dooryard garden was brilliant with yellow flowers, but Mary Ann never forgot an article she had read about the importance of adding blue flowers to a garden. She took it to heart, and as well as blue, added perennials that bloomed in purple, peach and deep red to give the front garden a joyful, cottagcy look. "I learned to
OPPOSITE: This charming New England front garden showcases some perennials hardy to Maine. Stretching almost 60 feet, it's filled with flowers of different colors and heights, all mingling together.
1 Wild feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) is carefree and easy to grow.
2 English shrub rose 'Pat Austin' is a remarkable orange-apricot color.
3 'Hyperion' dayliiy has a lovely scent.
4 Foxglove, Digitalis grandiflora, is the essence of a cottage garden.
5 Extra-early bloomer hybrid 'Happy
Returns' dayliiy has bright-yellow blossoms.
6 Allium giganteum pops with color in a mixed bed.
7 'Ballerina' peony (Paeonia lactiflora) really is the perfect pink.
8 Lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis) provides a frothy contrast with its yellow-green leaves and flowers.
9 'Festiva Maxima,' a hybrid peony, has fragrant white double flowers.
10 Hybrid Asiatic lilies are easy to grow and multiply quickly.
11 Spires of yellow foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora) add height and contrast.
12 Tall 'Sunny Border Blue' speedwell
(Veronica) is as lovely in a vase as it is in this garden.
13 Mary Ann transplanted this 'Lady' iris from her mother's garden.
move plants around, built lattices around the kitchcn door for climbing tea roses and David Austin (roses), and added stone steps and a patio interwoven with woolly thyme." The Betkes' secret? Every October, "we put manure all over the gardens, and the results arc spectacular." To wit, her sky-blue delphiniums are almost six feet tall, the statelyr hollyhocks beg to be staked, and the giant globe alliums live up to their colossal name.
Most of the flowers in the dooryard garden are classic perennials: yellow foxglove, hybrid daylilies, purple lupine, lavender and Russian sage, as well as alliums, roses and delphiniums. They re all self-seeding, and many are fragrant, which is also important to Mary Ann. "The lemon lilies bloom early, with their lovely scent, and the sweet 'New Dawn' roses by the kitchcn door bloom profusely from June on," she says.
"I think of it as a Victorian woman's garden," Maryr Ann says. "I envision her enjoying the plants that fall over the walkway and their voluptuousness. I love that overfed feeling in gardens and that they are ever-changing and such a pleasure."
ABOVE: A dose-up look at the tightly packed texture of the dooryard garden, "We don't get weeds," Mary Ann Betke says, testifying to the wonder of intense planting.
OPPOSITE: Giant globe allium (Allium giganteum) raises a spherical head, as large as four inches in diameter, made up of many tiny purple flowers. Sometimes called drumstick allium, it adds a jolt of color at 3 to 5 feet tall and. though an onion, it smells quite sweet.
ABOVE: Showing the entire facade of the house: from left, the old carriage barn, the kitchen wing, and the orlgtnaf 19th-century haif-Cape, The flowers create a colorful, wave-like rhythm.
BELOW: Creamy yellow foxglove 0Digitalis grandiflora) blooms progressively up a strong 3- to 4-foot stalk, designed by nature for pollination by a bee. A biennial, foxglove creates a dramatic mass and needs lots of water during summer.
Plan an up-front garden
A front-yard garden invites guests in and hints at your personal interior decorating style. Follow these tips to make a great first impression.
One of the best new roses, 'Double Knock Out' blooms from spring 'til frost with few demands and good disease resistance. Its Intense reddish pink blossoms add a major splash of color to any garden.
Low-upkeep plants and trees turn a weed-covered California hillside into a lush landscape
Written by Mervyn Kaufman Photographs by Shelley Metcalf
When Kathy and Bill Scripps first saw the site where their dream house would be built, there was only dried brush peppered with 29 mature palm trees. Looking beyond the weed growth, the California couple focuscd on what were 5V2 acres of land in highly desirable Rancho Santa Fe, which meant, potentially, grassed-in areas for both of their kids to play in as well as room to build a barn. "We wanted to have horses," says Kathy,
Working with friend and architect Jerri Grindle, the Scrippscs ended up with a contemporary house wrapped around a courtyard with a swimming pool and tennis court. As plans evolved lor a house to be built near the top of the hill, Kathy recalls, "Our neighbors to the east of us asked if we wanted to buy their property—they had three acres. We did; that's how we ended up owning 8V2 acres." Grading and planting the expanded hillside took about six months and involved the skills of Encinitas landscape architects Greg Stone and Kirsten
RIGHT: Lined with boulders hauled from nearby grading projects, a series of flagstone steps winds up to Kathy and Bill Scripps's front door. Crawling bougainvillea 'La Jolla' vines create a splash of red, and a plant bed shaped by rescued cobblestones adds texture.
BELOW: A tall African sumac stands amidst flax and red sage on the slope leading down from the driveway. The Scrippses and their landscape architects agreed that all plant matter should be drought-resistant.
Larson. "Ours was a large piece of property," says Kathy, "and we wanted all of it landscaped. Because rain is infrequent here, we requested drought-resistant plants."
Kirsten says she and Greg Stone worked closely with the architect to integrate the indoor-outdoor spaces, but for them the biggest challenge was grading the property to include a driveway, a pool and entertaining area, a place for a six-horse barn and, of course, appropriate drainage. Ultimately, an automated irrigation system was installed, one that considered water requirements for each planting zone. "The old-growdi palm trees originally stood in what became our pool area," Kathy recalls. "During the grading, wc transferred all of those trees to the bottom of the property, where grading wasn't taking place. Later we brought the trees back up and arranged them around
>*i i right: Tall, spiky flax rises out of a dense planting that includes purple Mexican bush sage and yellow Mexican mint marigold. Kathy Scripps says it took two years for the plants to take hold, expand and fill in.
BELOW RIGHT: In planning the garden, Greg and Kirsten installed plants on the slope near the driveway and front steps, in areas around the horse barn and surrounding the poolside entertaining area.
left; "We used a lot of succulents down near the barn," said Kirsten, "This one is an Echeveria ('Afterglow'). Its color is so intense that It appears to glow In the twilight, although it's not iridescent, Greg and I chose it because it creates a beautiful focal point in the garden."
ft sa m
OPPOSITE: Stones line a dry streambed that channels water flowing down the hillside. "It doesn't rain much here—only 9 inches a year," says Kirsten, "but when it does, there's a lot of runoff," Shading the streambed is a Chinese flame tree, which Kirsten calls "partly deciduous, partly evergreen."
the pool and patio. We asked Kirsten to give us kind of a tropical look. We go to Hawaii a lot as a family and love that feel of lush foliage surrounding a pool with a disappearing edge. Also we wanted an outdoor fireplace." Kathy found a picture in a magazine and showed it to Greg. His fireplace design called for cobbles, which had been uncovered and saved during grading, and Apache Cloud ledge stone, shipped from Arizona, which was also used for the retaining wall.
The Scrippses and their landscape architects agreed that plants known to flourish locally where rain is scarce would be the wisest choice. So, says Kathy, "they took us to a nursery and we pointed out the plants we liked and disliked, and they just put it together for us." This was easier said than done, for temperature concerns became just as important as considerations of color, texture and scale. "Because our house is near the top of the hill," Kathy says, "plants that would do fine up here in the winter would not survive at the bottom where it might be 10 degrees colder." She credits Greg and Kirsten with placing plants where they were certain to thrive: "When the landscaping was first put in, the plants looked so spread out, but within a year or two it till filled in perfectly." For the Scrippses, the highest compliment they've received from visiting friends has been, "It looks as though it's always been that way."
OPPOSITE: Greg Stone designed the freestanding outdoor fireplace near the pool, using leftover ledge stones plus cobbles culled when the property was graded. Begonias blossom in the urn on the flagstone patio; Dioon edule (Mexican cycad) thrives in the urn to the left of the fireplace.
above: Succulents are at home in the ravine-like barn area. Here, tall, skinny Euphorbia ingens rises against a background of bear grass; in front of it is a creeping perennial, Aeonium 'Zwartkop,' that grows best out of direct sun. In the foreground is Mexican bush sage, which can reach up to 4 feet.
"The Scripps garden is not a native garden," Greg Stone explains. "We call it a naturalized garden. Only about 30 percent of the plantings are native—plants known to grow successfully in southern California. The rest come from parts of the world where the climate is similar."
The Spectacle of
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.