A Design Request

I was asked by another blogger if I could show some of my design work, so I turned off the snow and decided to post a bit. Without showing the best views of the design out of deference to the owner’s privacy, I do have images sans the entire front facade and rear patio.

I took these images when the landscape contractor was on site in early Spring, so many of perennials have yet to show.

The design is very formal with structured geometric boxwood hedges. The home is under interior renovation and the landscape design was to afford beautiful views from the second and third floor office, study and bedrooms.

The Orangery was new construction connecting the main house to a newly constructed three car garage. The exterior seating area was completed to compliment the interior of the space. As you can see the view extends all the way through the Orangery to the Escarpment, and on a clear day, all the way to Toronto. I suggested the upper area be constructed to allow access and view. It is a great place to view fireworks.

This large property is connected by a series of paths. Chanticleer Pear trees are spaced in repetition along the front of the home.

Heavy cast iron urns filled with annuals are placed throughout.

This path leads to an original pond out of view and not yet restored when this photo was taken.

This urn was purchased only days before its arrival on site when the owner and myself went shopping. The landscape trucks in the image above brought it and the men set it into place. It was extremely heavy.

Still too early for flowers on the Stella de Oro. It was hard getting the urn in without crushing them. Usually something of this size is sited first, but this urn took a long time to find.

The owner wanted a long formal entry. You can see there is no direct, straight route to the front door. This image was the summer after installation. The pear trees are not in flower.

The image below was the same summer after installation, before the urn was brought the next spring.

This view is looking toward the wooded area from the front door.

Here is a partial of one drawing. Much information has been removed, but the overall design development is shown.

Also below is the design of one of the retaining walls on the property. This wall is a semi-circular curve, but could only be seen once rendered. The renderings were watercolor and air brushed originals that went to the client on presentation. The other image presented was a hand drawn and colored perspective of the home.

Boxwood bordered the path to the vehicular drop off zone, but are not shown on the drawing below. A few other changes were made before this drawing was finalized. Plus, some of the design and paths were not yet constructed in my images. A lot of construction was going on to the home and landscape, so much was done in phases. No architectural drawings are presented here.

Now we move to the informal areas on the property.

The design slowly transitions to informal on the South side of the property.

Newly laid and cut flagstone leads to the rear veranda and outdoor entertaining patio.

This path leads to the hedge of arborvitae you see below. This is a very early Spring photo. The Hosta are just starting to unfurl. Other perennials are yet to make an appearance.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
This entry was posted in garden, Landscape Design, My Designs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to A Design Request

  1. fer says:

    Your designs look amazing! I wish I could walk those paths and see more.

    • I have another property I will show this winter that had natural stone paths designed throughout the property for the husband who was wheel chair bound. This place is amazing and also was an architectural project too.

      I do not have the flowers blooming because there was so much stone work going on. I never got images of the gardens in bloom. The client called last year and told me to stop in to see the beautiful gardens in bloom, but I never got a chance to visit. Maybe this year I will.

  2. Marguerite says:

    Donna, I’m incredibly impressed. Now I know why you’re so good at painting your gnomes! Obviously you’re a wealth of artistic talent.

  3. Missy says:

    It is a beautiful design. I love the way the formal blends with the natural and it seems that it would be beautiful throughout the entire year, and at night as well by the look of the lights near the pear trees. It must have been a huge undertaking.

    • That is always a challenge to blend the two seamlessly. I could not show the rear of the home without showing the home itself, but it is gorgeous back there. The yard looks very deep, but it really is one of the more shallow properties I worked on.

  4. Connie says:

    Wow!!! What a wonderful result! Your design compliments the house perfectly, and it looks like it’s always been there. Thank you VERY much for sharing.

    • Hi Connie, thank you. The home is over one hundred years old and both architectural and landscaping was being built together. That helps quite a bit in making a cohesive design. Most of the exterior was complete, the only addition was the roof rail and door access after landscaping started. The interior was still ongoing. I was there about one year.

  5. Now I can see what the other hand draws. Thanks Donna!

  6. Joy says:

    Donna your home and gardens are absolutely stunning !!
    I love your designs and they go so well with your home .. just beautiful ! .. and to see that far to the escarpments that is wonderful .. I would have my camera on the go all of the time ! haha
    Hey .. I am trying to get to blogs that I have been missing out on .. I am really struggling with pain issues and they are howling with this weather .. it is so NOT right with it raining and no snow .. I’m sure we will get a huge horrible dump some time and it is hanging over our heads ?? LOL
    Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2011 !!
    Joy : )

    • Sorry to hear you are in pain. A friend of mine called and said the rain has gotten to her too. Her pain is joint based and she can not even get out of bed. I hope you are pain free soon.

      Thanks for the compliment. This post is a design for my client.

      You made me check my other blog GreenApples. I am working on a post of my kitchen redesign. It is a completely gutted space and I did all the architecture and design which I can show without issue. It shows the garden too. Phew. I thought I hit the publish button by mistake.

  7. TS says:

    Bravo! Bravo!!! 🙂

  8. lifeshighway says:

    Donna, I am almost speechless. Your design is beautiful and impeccably designed for the property. I wish you lived in my area, where my house is not so grand, I still love the designs provided by a landscape architect. We have not contacted one for our current home.

    • I know you are crazy busy right now and really appreciate you stopping in and commenting. If I was close I would stop in at you home and we could hash around ideas. Sometimes that is all a gardener needs.

  9. Wow. That hardscaping costs some $$$. I bet you were verrry happy.

    • And it did. It was a far greater expense out back with all the natural stone and masonry work. The front was a budgetary concession using modular pavers believe it or not. I wish I had shots that I could show. The mortar had a color additive that really made the bluestone pop at the patio and inside the veranda.

  10. Good gracious, this is inspiring!


  11. Hi, Donna,

    What beautiful work, and what a wonderful property! That Niagara Escarpment view would be hard to beat.

    Here’s some info on the Seattle garden bloggers meet-up — as much as I know for now:

    The dates for the meet-up are July 23 & 24, possibly spilling over to Monday the 25th. Here’s the announcement from Mary Ann Newcomer (Gardens of the Wild Wild West) on the Business of Garden Writing Facebook page:

    “I’ve got to get this out here!! Garden Bloggers’ 2011 Fling will be in Seattle/ the weekend of July 23-24. I believe we are going to go into Monday, because ferry traffic to and from Bainbridge/Vashon is dreadful on weekends in July. Your hosts, Debra Prinzing, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Marty Wingate,Dave Perry and I (although I am in Boise) are fast and furiously working out the details. So, come early and stay late. I’ll post the hotel info here in the next couple days. We will also put up a page/notice on the Buffa10 site. Thanks for your kind patience. SEATTLE-2011.”

    Here’s the link to the Buffa10 page, but I see they haven’t posted anything yet:


    I’ve never been to the west coast (!), so I’m really hoping to go.

  12. Cat says:

    This garden is beautifully designed. The first shot makes me eager for spring!

  13. Donna, I’ m so glad you showed the breadth of what you are capable of. The designs, through more formal than my style, are amazing and the size and scale of the project that you handled show a consummate skill. The hardscape alone must have taken months and months to develop and execute. And here we all thought your forte was Christmas trees. What next, gourmet cooking? Thanks for sharing, Carolyn

    • I do all kinds of design in various styles but these homes are very stately and the clients always ask for formal near the house. Near the river view, it always breaks down to the informal. I have enjoyed these properties because I can do both styles. They all have ten acres or so of landscaped property. Very park like.

  14. Rosie says:

    Wow Donna, you have a wonderful job…to be able to envision how the grounds will look like and to actually get to see the fruition of your ideas – that’s just great. This is a huge project, and I am sure the owners are so glad they had you to design their garden. So I take my hat off to you, Master Gardener.

  15. Mac_fromAustralia says:

    Wonderful. A real treat to “visit” this gorgeous example of your work.

  16. Hi Donna, great to have an insight into your professional life. I don’t normally like formal designs, but somehow there was a softness and domesticity to this scheme that I liked a lot. I think perhaps it is all the trees, the contrast between their very natural forms, despite the tidy canopy of the pears, and the neat box edging. I also love the curve around the orangery and the way the view goes all the way through.

    • Formal design is not for all styles of architecture. The home really governs the design. All these homes are very elegant and really do warrant this type of landscaping near the entry. But I am lucky because the properties are huge and I have created drift of blooms in huge beds on some of them in a much more relaxed design. Some have ponds and some back woods.

  17. Andrew says:

    That’s a great design, I love seeing the plan & elevation too.

  18. Dear Donna, You are a marvel! What a bounty of talent! I love seeing the grace of the elevation drawings . . . the trees are so lovely in their placement. Very impressive. Very formal indeed! (I confess to being completely out of my element, being the rustic spirit I am.) Brava!

  19. One says:

    Donna, I know you are very talented. Yet you never fail to continue to impress me. Thank you for sharing.

    • I am glad you got to see this post because we are pretty good friends. I always learn something about you when I visit your blog. Your work with animals really touches my heart. I wish I had the time to donate time in this area. All I can do is make a monetary donation, and maybe adopt a pet.

  20. Beautiful Donna, so much more organized than my pencil and paper scribblings, which usually morph into something completely different by the time they’re translated to the garden. I must admit though, the notion of trimming all those hedges makes my carpal tunnel twinge! 😛

    • They have a staff of full time gardeners who hand trim. No electric clippers. I did warn them when they wanted the whole design bordered in boxwood. They have arbs and yews too, but the deer come by and nibble them down. I told them about that too.

  21. Andrea says:

    You’re great Donna! I envy your work, i should have chosen Hort-landscaping instead of Hort-Postharvest Physiology, haha. That time while we were in college, landscaping is not in yet, as very few projects are available, mostly corporate and rich clients only do landscaping jobs. Now, i feel like i should have chosen that field too, i am envious. Formal gardens are not for us though, maybe because we are an archipelago and limited lands for those type of gardens.

  22. p3chandan says:

    Very impressive! Kudos to you Donna!

  23. Dear Donna

    What an incredible property to landscape. Those paths to the front of the house are so impressive and soooooo long. I think formality works best when you have to landscape for such a grand house as this. I think the views must be amazing after having a glimpse from your last photograph.

    Happy New Year to you!

  24. patty says:

    Magnificent looking property. Looks pretty daunting to me… but the result is wonderful. Any chance you will be at the Toronto technical update for master gardeners this Saturday? I will be there.

  25. Jennifer says:

    It must have been such a treat to have a wonderful property as your inspiration. The formal box lined paths have a calm, ordered feeling that only comes with such lovely, classical garden design. I like the urn that you and the homeowner selected. It makes a great focal point.

  26. Kathleen says:

    Fabulous job Donna. This is all very thoughtful and showcases the beautiful property. You should be very proud. I love the urn too.

  27. Sandra Jonas says:

    Beautiful work! I can only imagine how elegant the house must be. So many ‘designers’ pay no attention to the architecture, yet that is what drives the design. Or should!
    Thanks so much for publishing this.

Comments are closed.