On the O’Fallon-Lebanon border, tucked in among farm fields and country roads, is a new neighborhood of homes where the robust presence of brick is the dominant architectural statement. Many families had recently moved into this new development when our client contacted us looking for custom designed English Garden Landscaping.
An English-style garden
A married Air Force couple, our new clients had just settled into their new home, and they had grand plans for it. The wife is a highly skilled gardener, and she had visions of transforming their backyard into an English-style garden, with only a small percentage of the almost 6,000 square feet kept as turf for their future grandchildren to play on.
During our consultation, we reviewed the specifics of what they wanted. First and foremost, they wanted a series of walkways meandering through their backyard that all linked up to a central meeting space in the shape of a circle – what the English call a “rondel”.
Additionally, they wanted these walkways to be lined with garden beds housing various species of flowering perennials and decorative shrubs.
Retaining wall and other features
Another major feature on their wish list was a retaining wall with steps so that visitors to their new garden could easily traverse the grade from the driveway down to the backyard. They also wanted a paver patio with a pergola where they could sit and dine or just simply relax in their new garden oasis.
Lastly, they requested some landscaping in the front to enhance the stately brick architecture of their new home.
Our proposal: An Eglish Garden Landscaping Labyrinth
Taking our measurements and elevations back to the office, we drew up the site map detailing existing conditions and began envisioning our clients’ design. What we came up with was essentially a “labyrinth garden”.
We leveraged form composition: a rectilinear layout with pathways that intersected asymmetrically – but still yielding proper direction and flow throughout the entire garden – was put into place.
We used crushed limestone as the base for our pathways with aluminum edging, which is durable and will not rust.
In the center of these pathways was the rondel, the circular epicenter that contained a footprint for a fountain and some plantings.
This matrix of pathways – this labyrinth – acted as the skeleton around which the remainder of the garden was fleshed out.
Next, we had to tackle the retaining wall. Dealing with tricky elevations, we constructed a three-tier retaining wall with gray Maytrx wall block. We capped those blocks with our white wall caps, and this color contrast only served to elevate the view of the landscape.
We used special snapped stone steps to lend a more natural feel to the space, and the same crushed limestone pathways lead visitors through each tier.
Finally, we lined the sides of the retaining wall with garden beds that would serve to soften the hardscape and brighten the view.
Paver patio and pergola
The custom paver patio and stained-pine pergola came next. Nestled in the corner of the labyrinth – acting as the gateway between the garden space and the small plot of lawn – the paver patio was conceived with a Belgard Origins-style paver in the gray color of Rio and was double-bordered with a slick 6” Black Diamond paver.
The pine pergola, stained a rich cedar color by the artisans at Country Lane, was installed on top of the paver patio and, if the client desires, is ready to receive a vine that could cast more shade on the patio.
Landscaped front yard
The front yard landscaping wound up being the icing on the cake. We wanted to match the front yard’s scale, so we worked in architectural layers with the plants. We placed ground-level layer plants, mid-level layer plants (taller perennials and smaller ornamental grasses), and larger shrubs and small trees that would compete with the home’s roof line.
The cascade effect of these different layers complemented the home nicely and really made the landscape stand out.
We added some flare, too, to the overall design, such as some focal point boulders and fon du lac natural stone edging for the garden beds.
Needless to say, when the crew wrapped up the project, the clients were excited about planting in their new English-style garden! They even already “claimed the space for their own” by planting some new trees themselves.
In the coming years, they will have such a wonderful palette to play with as they carve a small botanical garden they can call their own – and share with their growing family.