In November of last year, I wrote about the challenges posed by refurbishing a landscape while a new driveway was under construction. GP Enterprises managed to plant a number of big trees, including European green beech, tricolor beech, Norway spruce, fastigiate hornbeam and sweet gum, with a digger truck – as the old driveway was being torn out. This collection of specimen trees were placed mindful of the views established by the placement of the driveway. The property had previously been densely planted with Norway spruce on the east and west lot lines, for privacy. The client was more interested in a more park like landscape which would make the trip up and down the driveway an interesting trip. Needless to say, they like trees. The rounded tree a little left of center in the above picture is a 10″ caliper tricolor beech. Behind and to the right of the beech is a very old, previously existing, weeping Norway spruce. As the lower branches had lost needles with age, a semicircular wrap of American arborvitae was planted behind it.
The arborvitae added a lot of green weight to the old Norway, and to this entry view. On the right, a columnar sweet gum. In the distance, to the left, a big beech. The new driveway was an enormous undertaking, and is quite wide. Part of the beauty of it is a curb that defines the shape and direction of the drive. The adjacent ground was regraded so it rolls gracefully down to that curb.
The drive up, and the drive back down does a great job of telling the landscape story. These pictures were taken very early on a cold morning in December, just after the project was finished. Seeing a landscape just after dawn permits the eye to focus on the composition and shapes, rather than color or texture.
The architect did such a great job of setting this contemporary house low, on the crest of a property that rises steadily from the road, and falls steeply to to a lake on the far side. The right fork in the drive goes to the garage, the left fork to the front door. The low dome of ground that separates the two helps sink the driveway down, and delays the visual presentation of the house to the final approach of the drive. Whomever designed the location of the drive, and the grading adjacent to the house did a great job.
The landscape near the house is low, and simple, and entirely evergreen. If you live in a cold climate you know how important it is to have an evergreen presence in the landscape. The circular drive court was redone first. All of the landscape material for this area was delivered all at once, and staged on tarps on this drive court. Once the plants arrived, the old driveway disappeared. We could no longer drive trucks to this area. The planting was slow going until we have enough plants in the ground to relieve some of the congestion. In the foreground are masses Green Gem boxwood, 12-15″ tall. My landscape superintendent Dan, pictured above, did a beautiful job directing the installation.
An existing hedge of upright yews was transplanted just outside the drive court, and is accompanied by a fastigiate mugho pine, and more of the Green Gem boxwood. An existing Katsura on the left has company in a fastigiate gingko on the right.
A path from the garage drive to the drive court was set inset in the ground cover boxwood, and is not visible from the drive until you reach this point. Against the foundation is a hedge of the spreading cap yews. Separating the cap yews and boxwood is a ribbon of gravel. This provides space for the plants to grow, and it provides access for maintenance. All of these evergreens are on drip irrigation. Once the path was fionished, grass would be planted between the stepping stones.
The view out from the house is equally as circumspect as the view up to the house. The beautiful shape of the land here, and a trio of spruce are the feature of the mid ground space. The rows of boxwood provide contrast to the informal landscape in the background.
The grade of the return view down the drive is quite different than the approach views. On the left, a group of columnar Serbian spruce. In the mid ground, a large green beech, and the blue needled abies candicans. In the distance, the semi-circle of American arborvitae.
Another beech was planted on the far side of the drive, and is the centerpiece of this view. To the right, a group of white pine. Behind the American arborvitae, a massive and old weeping Norway spruce.
We finished the last bit of the work in mid December 0f 2015. I drove up and down the drive more than just a few times. It was a quiet summer for this phase of the landscape. Every tree was busy moving in to their new homes, and putting down roots.