Archive for Old houses

Designer Places Studio Garage for Perfect Property Flow

My clients had a large property that had been a historic dairy.  They already had the fabulous old craftsman house that they had lovingly restored.  I was hired to create a landscape design.  They needed a detached garage for cars, extra parking and a studio for Hudson’s photography business.

Clients needed a garage studio placed for best use of property and curb appeal

Clients needed a garage studio placed for best use of property and curb appeal

They had a design for the studio/garage and thought they had the perfect placement.   I quickly realized the placement of the garage was all wrong as it would have the patio, outdoor dining and entertaining area looking directly at parked cars when they had guests.  After establishing my credibility, I told them I could make it so much better and that we needed to think about the property as a whole in order to place the garage to its best advantage. They were surprised and then grateful.  As we got into the design process, we discovered the right location for the garage meant changes to their original garage design.  It was the right thing to do.

New location alters the design of the garage

New location of the garage/studio.

 

No matter how much I love plants, landscape and garden design, design is all about how you move through the property…. and that includes cars. When I’m having dinner with my friends outside, I don’t want to look at parked cars. They had a large property but we needed clever use of the usable space.

 

My design: I turned the garage so that while on the back porch of the grand old house or down in the woodland patio, what we saw was the inviting studio entrance complete with its own small porch and softening summer interest plantings.  We did not see the garage doors.

Soft plantings soften studio porch entry.

Soft plantings soften studio porch

The garage was turned so the cars would enter on the 45° angle. This also created more room for lawn and plantings on their property.  I used screening plants to hide guest’s parked cars.  Driving into the property we saw the attractive facade of the garage with overhead arbor. Because the garage is angled, the doors are not the most powerful visual you see as you drive up.  This greatly enhances curb appeal.

When they were working with their architect, they didn’t know the questions to ask that might have led them to the same placement I selected. While they thought they were hiring me just to create the garden, they were very pleased that I took on the task of designing for the whole property.

We created wonderful plantings for the new woodland patio garden and foundation plantings for both the house and the garage. This is one of my happiest designs because I was able to make the property work so much better. 

After Landscape Design in a Day

With the new placement of garage and studio, there is room for a fire pit patio, and a real patch of lawn. Photo by Hudson Henry

Henry before garage studio

This is what the property looked like the day I arrived for our first design appointment.

“The landscape design is perfect for the property. There was a lot more to placing the garage that we didn’t realize until Carol pointed it out.”

Quick Fix for Front Entry Patio

Kris Jones is a professional graphics designer of Red Door Designs.  She hired me to help her with what seemed an impossible task. Kris wanted a private outdoor dining lounge in her tiny front landscape that was next to a public sidewalk.  She told me on the phone that the property was so tiny there was no additional outdoor space.

modern front patio fits with old house

Modern clean lines and simple plantings of boxwood fit the space perfectly

Before the Design in a Day

Before the Design in a Day

While I was hired to create a design for the front,  on the day I arrived the back porch was being torn down.  I immediately realized we had the perfect opportunity to  design a covered private dining room.  The front dining patio idea had problems: too far from the kitchen, too public, and we couldn’t do tall screening plants without removing natural light from her living room. The end result is a semi public sitting area in a front courtyard patio that looks like a million bucks and a small, but highly functional, private dining room directly off her kitchen.  I could see she had room for an 8′ x 8′ area,  Kris needed a second pair of eyes to see the possibilities.

“Carol is not only fun to work with, but she is a creative out of the box thinker who is thoughtful, and has a deep knowledge of her subject. She is incredibly talented and helpful. She helped me put together a plan for my front patio area and my back covered porch. Now both areas feels like shangri la.  I don’t have a green thumb and Carol was able to break things down in a way that really made it easy for me to achieve my exterior planting goals.

I really look forward to working with Carol again in the future.”