Friday, March 23, 2018

Seven WInds Projects from 2017


The past year, 2017, was a busy year for Seven Winds Landscaping.  We installed projects all around the area.  Below is a selection of some of the projects from 2017 with some fun "before and after" photos.  Some of these gardens are indeed unrecognizable after their transformation. We thank all of our great homeowners for entrusting Seven Winds with caring for their gardens, from the most simple project to the most complex.  It is because of you that we can continue to do what we love to do!

A masonry fountain, brick and bluestone graces a city garden oasis.
The project pictured below required extensive designing in order to incorporate all the elements that the homeowners desired. Myriad details went into creating this complex, yet visually flowing space. It features a lot of functional elements incorporated into a pleasing and harmonious aesthetic experience.  The yard was originally framed by privet hedges which made the garden feel narrow.  There was no functional deck space.  
The first step was the construction of a cedar fence which was finished on both sides, unlike many privacy fences.  The gate was highly unusual in that it is a 10' bifold gate.  The second step was the construction of a deck with pergola, planters and benches, and the construction of a small shed built into the actual fence in order to maximize space.  Narrow raised planters flow along the walkway with metal trellises to create additional vertical green space.

AFTER:  This shows the winter view of the garden.

Phase two which took place over the winter 2017-2018 involved a great deal of masonry as walkways, patio, walls and a fountain completed the space.

AFTER: A paver "flagstone' patio allows dual use as a patio and parking area.  A waterfall water feature is built into the fence on the right side.  
Phase two involved a curving masonry wall built from local quartzite stone quarried out of Butler, Maryland.  This wall curves up to create a sitting area around an overflowing urn garden.  It also creates a large raised garden along one side of the space with ample room for a couple Japanese maples.  The AC unit (a common eyesore in small gardens) is covered with trellis and a top to create a table.  Trellis sides and cap are removable for the summer season in order to allow AC unit adequate air.  
Urn water garden in deck extension is accessible from deck and walkway.   Seating areas on the wall and on the built in bench between planters on deck create an intimate space to enjoy the water features.
A second project in another narrow garden shows the difference an elegant bluestone patio can make in a garden that had not been "updated" in many years.  In this case we removed a straight paver patio and walkway and created a curved patio and walkway.  Curves give a walkway a sense of surprise with their inherent invitation to continue walking to discover what is around the curve.  In rectangular yards, curves can soften the space.  In this particular case a beautiful cascade of blue morning glories from the neighbor's yard compliments the various blues, greens and purples of the bluestone.  The rose colored bricks of the garage complement the patio as well.  This is now a garden ready for an array of plantings to further develop its beauty.  
Simplicity of design and smoothness of flow form a strong foundation for this  garden.
The following project combines classic brick and bluestone with sleek contemporary design.  A large fountain pond is a visual and auditory centerpiece harking back to the charming village fountains still found throughout Europe.  A generous bluestone patio allows space to stretch out with ample room for container gardens, while a series of steps drops to the alley grade at the end of the garden. Follow the photos as they move from the alley into this gorgeous new space.

An arched gate leads from the back alley into the garden.  Brick knee walls retain the higher garden grade, while a horizontal cedar board fence introduces a modern tone.  
Upon opening the gate a series of steps rises to eventually give way to the upper patio.  Raised beds retained with timbers allow gardening space on each side of the walkway.  A hidden trash area is tucked in the left corner.
AFTER:  Two new trees, a seedless Sweet Gum and a Sweet Bay Magnolia have taken the place of the prickly Holly and overgrown pines.  The trash area is hidden behind a fence panel in the back right corner.  
BEFORE:  Three large trees overshadowed the garden, dropping pine needles and prickly holly leaves.  The garden was feeling cluttered and in need of some more functional space, however the water feature was an essential feature to bring into the new design.  
Diagonal lines cut through any boxiness that a rectangular design can give rise to and the arched gate becomes a visual focal point from this view due to it being one of the few curves in the design.
The visual and auditory jewel of the garden, a goldfish pond and fountain  provides room for water garden plants, sitting walls,  and shelves, while it creates the tranquil sound of a waterfall which drowns out the city noises.  The waterfall itself consists of a reclaimed granite slab over which the water flows.  The pond is deeper than grade, allowing for safe overwintering of fish.

This petite garden needed a new fence and reorganizing using existing stones that were already present.  The new fence created a new frame for this space, with a level top rather than the more typical top that follows grade.  For city gardens a truly level fence is more elegant.  We can step it down (as in the previous project) to comply with city or county building code restrictions of fence height.  Especially with a very small garden such as this one, building the fence to be level is essential.  We reused existing stone collected by the homeowner to define very specific raised planting areas. The new curved walkway is pea gravel, a classic choice for informal gardens.  
AFTER: Now a strong new fence frames the space, while clearly defined and beautified planting areas  are separated by a pea gravel walkway.  The Serviceberry tree, now freed from its pot, will appreciate its roots being in the earth.  New plantings will give color and attract birds, butterflies and bees.
BEFORE:  Undefined planting areas and a very old fence needed to be addressed.
Pavers and concrete wall units offer a wide range of hardscaping options.  In this particular project a new deck had been built creating a large sloped unusable space underneath it, and an area that needed a patio to connect a back door to the bottom of the steps.  We came up with a design that allowed level terraces under the deck as well as a lower patio to connect the door with an existing walkway and the new deck steps.  The back drop to the patio was an array of color, given this project took place in November.  We also enjoyed seeing some very tame deer passing by.
The paver selected by the homeowners was Belgard 'Mega Arbel' in fossil beige with matching wall units and caps.  They provide a flagstone look alike patio.  

Terraces under the deck create new useful spaces as well as provide for easy cleaning.  A privacy lattice was installed  to hide a storage area under an existing enclosed porch.  We like to use a tight mesh lattice for privacy or to obscure the view of a storage or trash area.

Many features can be added to the garden to provide architectural interest and yield a result, be that result fruit, wildlife food and nectar, or cut flowers. In this project we installed a cedar trellis system for an espaliered apple tree (with three different apple varieties grafted onto it) as well as some raspberry rows on the side.  Espaliered trees and shrubs are a way to fit a tree into a narrow vertical space, such as along a wall or at the side of a deck or fence.  They do need a strong supportive structure.  
Espaliered apple with raspberry rows on either end.
We also planted a native plant garden to feed butterflies, humming birds, various other birds and beneficial insects. These are robust plants which quickly take root and thrive.  The ones we selected for this very sunny spot are meadow natives, which tend to be very flamboyant.  A humming buzzing haze of insects and butterflies fill the air around them in the summertime.  
Some of the native wild flowers here are Joe Pye weed, Monarda, Buttefly weed, Iron weed, Goldenrod, and Red Cardinal flower.