This quiet and well tended landscape was sputtering along on too few cylinders; it seemed to be needing a big dose of what I call lush life. The retail store of the same name in Atlanta Georgia wedges great gifts, ideas, objects for home and garden, floral design, books, antiques and much more into what once was a small home and property. Everywhere you look, the space lives up to its name. www.lushlifehomegarden.com. Lush Life is a striking visual lesson in how to create beautiful spaces, and views; shopping this store is even better.
Lush life-I knew those words would appeal to my client. In her typically direct fashion, she said she wanted me to design a landscape that would persuade her to get involved.
Her lawn service had installed this giant pool of egg rock right off her terrace, thinking to drain water from a low spot that was impossible to mow. I guess this is one way of handling it. When I see things like this, I know the most important job will be getting to client to reclaim ownership. Persuade me, she said.
The drive and walk were functional. Though well maintained, it was indeed enough to put you to sleep. Every space was in full view of every other space. The parking area got top billing, driving in. The landscape telegraphed all of its visual moves such you could see it all, driving by. As the only landscapes I love driving by are Lady Bird Johnson’s blubonnet meadows on the Texas highways in late March, Lake Michigan from a perch on the Mackinac Bridge, and other big open places of the same ilk, I knew she needed not just places to be, but lushly living places where she could live too.
Even a good looking lawn is not enough, if the shape of the lawn is not beautiful. All the elements of a landscape need to help each other look better. The white Victorian period iron furniture was not good with the red Japanese maple, which was struggling in the shade of one of the most beautiful big European beech I had ever seen.
The white furniture is now dark. The terrace is twice the original size. A fountain made of a concrete pot in the classical Italian style sits over top a giant underground French drain. Some big pots lush with life warm up the terrace. The terrace garden is green and gaining visual weight.
The big beech is underplanted with an even bigger sweep of myrtle. Two Princeton Gold maples mark an entrance from the immediate terrace garden, to the far gardens. There are enough curves and swoops to keep the eye moving around the space.
The lush carpet of myrtle is home to an old cast iron sculpture, and an aging wood bench. There are views to this from several vantage points-all the views are different. The masses of chartreuse hosta soften and lighten the space. The backdrop of mixed evergreens is growing in.
Parked cars are no longer part of the landscape. The view to the drive is anchored by a big splash of variegated miscanthus grass, snugged up to a hydrangea Tardiva. This is an casual landscape, with strong impact.
By no means should casual mean sleepy. There is a very interesting thing going on with color here-a cohesive statement consistent from back to front.
Lush life. She likes it.