At A Glance: Scenes From The Installation

DSC_4804To follow are some pictures that detail the landscape renovation process for the property I wrote about yesterday. In establishing privacy close up on the terrace, and screening the generator from view, a new home was created for the lead fountain.

DSC_4768a scheme for the garage wall that involved centering the existing trellis, and adding a pair of candelabra style espaliers –  faced down with a double row of boxwood.

DSC_9557a custom made planter box from Branch Studio centered on the trellis

DSC_5022The new home for the lead fountain creates a mid ground layer of privacy up close to the terrace. Though not readily apparent in this picture, the boxwood curves around the back of the fountain.

DSC_5021privacy on the terrace on the south side

October 12 2014 (12)providing for good drainage

DSC_0076setting 11 Venus dogwoods on a curve-well out of the way of the power lines

pergolarestored wood arbor moved from the front yard to the entrance to the rear yard garden

October 12 2014 (18)gravel along the foundation in the front yard

DSC_1266a few favorite perennials

Q landscape (2)the last of the planting.  In this picture you can see that the boxwood backdrop to the lead fountain was planted on a curve that matches the curve of the Venus dogwoods. A few broadly brushed curves can energize a narrow, boxy space.

DSC_1220The existing lead boxes were moved onto the porch where their diminutive size and subtle detail can be better appreciated.  2 new custom boxes were fabricated and placed as “end posts” to the boxwood hedge across the front.  Their size is proportional, and scaled to the size of the porch. The indented, concave corners of the boxes is a traditional detail.

Q landscape (6)A new powder coated steel pergola has the same footprint as the sun room on the opposite side of the house, and features a gothic arch detail taken from the existing windows on the house.  The pergola is set level, true and plumb.  The regrading of the ground would come later.

new yewsNew yews replaced those that had been killed by the previous two winters.

a new lookAn updated design was beginning to emerge. Tomorrow, the finish.




  1. Inspiring! And the design enhances so much of what is an already lovely and classically designed home. I so wish I lived closer to you……I would be a groupie, learning and soaking up everything I could. Alas, I have to take in all I can from the lessons you unselfishly present via your blog. Exemplary work.

  2. Ruth Wolery says

    This new design for the landscape is much better and with greater appeal. The home is shown fully now. It is gorgeous. Looking forward to seeing the finish.

  3. Beautiful Deborah. What trees did you use for the espalier?

  4. I love your blog and I look forward to visiting Detroit Garden Works the next time I’m in the Detroit area. But right now I’m wondering about the gravel along the foundation. I’ve not seen that done before. Would you explain why you did that?

    • Deborah Silver says

      Kate, when I first looked at the house, there was mildew on the front walls. We thought we corrected the drainage in front, but I wanted to be sure that no water would sit on those wall. How the boxwood is planted would make it very difficult to get back there to weed ground cover. So the gravel is a fast draining no maintenance mulch. best, Deborah

      • Marguerite says

        Deborah, this is so elegant and the lines are so clean and simple, and most importantly, will give pleasure in four seasons….not to mention, the joy of looking at those Branch containers as art objects in and of themselves. I do have a question about the gravel. I have put gravel in a small area (a rectangle about 15′ x 20′ with landscape fabric underneath and I find I must weed it continuously. Ugly SHARP weeds, too. Drives me crazy since this is exactly what I didn’t want to do. How to achieve you low maintenance of your gravel solution? I think it looks so beautiful and clean and shows the house to its best advantage.
        thank you again for showing us the next step. Can’t wait to see the icing.

        • Deborah Silver says

          Dear Marguerite, I have no idea what weed you have! Does your gravel have an edger strip around it? We do 3 inches of crushed limestone first, then 2-3 inches of the top gravel-and the fabric at the bottom. The only weeds we get are from seeds that get blown in. I can’t answer your question-sorry! best, Deborah

          • Marguerite says

            Thank you for always being so specific , because seeing your answer, I now understand my problem. (BTW, I have too many types of weeds to ever name) I put down landscape fabric and then pea gravel which moves and the irregularity of the stones leaves air between them for opportunistic weeds to grow through. Your crushed limestone followed by the granite is so dense nothing will get through. The pea gravel is no match for all the “Audreys” and lesser weeds that flourish in the space. I will add that area to my “redo” list. My Sealyham has a small dog door and gangplank from the laundry room into this area which is surrounded on two sides by high walls and the garage on the third and I also have have my potting bench there with garden tools & supplies easily accessible from the garage. (I guess we both “go potty” in there…..) Thank you Deborah, you always teach me something !

          • Deborah Silver says

            Marguerite, pea gravel never compacts-it always rolls. Crushed stopne and graniote interlock, and compact. The crushed stone is so much easier to walk on, too. best, Deborah

  5. Ed Morrow says

    Intelligence and taste, a powerful combination.
    I wish we had the water.
    What are the specs for the gravel? is it taconite?

    Ec Morrow
    Carmel Valley, CA

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ed, this is a crushed granite. I will have to look up taconite-I do not know what that it. Thank you for your letter. best, Deborah

  6. Great pictures! I’m excited to see it completed. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Bravo! So well done. Gravel is a great problem solver next to foundation. I think it is clean and refreshing visually. Containers are really attractive with the blue stone paved areas and White House behind.

  8. the fountain is much happier in its’ new place and all nestled in

  9. Just BEAUTIFUL, Deborah. Your thoughtfulness in the design and your vision are truly inspirational. I just love your attention to detail (for example, the new steel pergola featuring the gothic arch detail to match house’s windows and it having the same footprint as the sun room on the opposite side of the house). I can’t wait to see more pictures!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Clare, thanks for your letter. Good design in large part is about taking the time to observe. This garden was on our garden tour this past Sunday. I will post tour day pictures tomorrow. all the best, Deborah

  10. Just so classic and elegant from the road, but allows for an intimate space with that little foundation and the espaliers etc. near to the house. Historic but modern at the same time.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Lisa, I value landscapes that make reference to a history, but go on to represent in a fresh way a client in the here and now. best, Deborah

  11. Jeanette says

    It swells my heart to see the beauty in your design. Improves the house immensely.
    i wish I could afford to have my house done as it suffers, but perhaps reading your blog will teach me so I can improve it .
    Thanks for sharing your work with us all…..

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jeanette, this project took almost 2 years. Any project can be done, if you space out the work. My landscape at home took 14 years-one part at a time. best, Deborah

  12. Amy Copeland says

    Deborah, do you offer consultations out of state? We’ve lived in a beautiful suburb of St. Louis, MO -Kirkwood- for 30 years. Try as we might, elements of our dream landscape are always off or just missing.

    I’ve never seen landscapes like yours, Deborah. Consistently beautiful in every way.

    Do you have clients in this area?

    Thank you so much for your time replying! Amy

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Amy, I do not do consultations via the internet-I don’t know how to make that work. I have to see a property in person. I do consults out of state on occasion, but my local work keeps me pretty consistently busy. best, Deborah

  13. I just love how your eye works. Nice job.

  14. Robin Foley says

    Amazing job, Deborah! I love your work and admire it from afar in New Jersey! I feel like I get a “mini vacation” when I view your gardens. I adore this house and you have made it so much more special.

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