Garden Whimsey

Timeless English walled gardens of the 18th and 19th centuries possess a certain magic with their indefatigable stone or brick partitions assuring privacy, establishing a sense of place, blocking noise, and often creating a microclimate within. Those characteristics, just as appealing today, are translated to a contemporary American garden in pursuit of its own unique identity.

The owners of this early 20th-century house sought to buffer their outdoor living space from the sights and sounds of driveway they share with another 3-story house. Situated up against an open expanse of concrete and parked cars, the primary goal was to establish a shielded boundary around a distinct inner world that conveyed an English garden feel.

The transformation began with the design of an elegant estate wall which would consequently influence the style of all other landscape elements. Several design concepts for the form of the wall, depicted in elevation, were presented to the clients for consideration. Favoring the design with tall entry columns and a sloping silhouette, the scheme for the adjacent terraces and seatwalls was developed accordingly and constructed in unison.

The pitch of the sloping driveway made construction of the estate wall a challenge – fooling the eye as to true plumb and level, which had to be constantly checked and monitored because of the mix of varying stone sizes. Exactitude in fine-chiseling the rate of slope was required to enable precise positioning of the contrasting bluestone coping to achieve uniform joints along the entire length of the wall. Inconspicuous LED light fixtures and concealed wiring were incorporated into each of the walls, illuminating their graceful forms after dark.

Within the walled landscape, a set of bluestone patios offer ample space for outdoor entertaining. The patios were designed with curved outer edges and a mirrored pair of seatwalls that repeat the curved shape of the estate wall. Projecting into the elongated lawn, the patios offer a private haven from which to applaud a game of badminton or admire the flowing garden borders.

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736 N. Western Ave. #109 Lake Forest, IL 60045

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