Family Ties

Landscape in Oyster Bay

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About the Project

As part of their wish list, the clients desired an easy to maintain front yard landscape and an entry walk to the sidewalk and street. Spaces for lounging, dining, and a play area for their young child and her playmates were required in the rear yard. Some separation from the existing driveway (which ran from front curb to back property line) was required as well. Seasonal color was important. Wherever possible, the preservation of existing material was requested since it had been planted by the grandfather.
Before the Renovation


The home was situated in a neighborhood of older, well established homes, all having small properties of similar proportions. Our client’s property measured 50’ x 150’. Craftsman style homes are suggestive of strong construction and simplicity. These principles were applied to the design and implementation of the landscape. Simple and meaningful lines, reflective of the Craftsman style, highlight the front landscape. The front door is located on the right side of the house just steps away from the drive. A bluestone walk was positioned through a post and rail fence creating a sense of entry onto the premises. It directs neighbors and guests off the street to the front door without dividing the small yard.

The low foundation planting underplants without overwhelming the front porch, an important architectural feature of the home. From the porch, the homeowners overlook a colorful garden. Traditional plants such as Ilex, Cornus, Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’, Hydrangea, Rosa, Hemerocallis, Nepeta, Liriope and Vinca provide seasonal and year round interest. The white post and rail fencing has been planted with Clematis.

After the renovation

The sense of a new, lush garden is perceived immediately upon one’s arrival into the rear yard. The garden’s foliage defines the outdoor living space and separates it from the existing drive. Spaces for entertaining, dining, and an area for children to play have been incorporated into the landscape. The bluestone terrace at the house allows egress from the house into the garden and is used as a family gathering space. A bluestone terrace situated in the rear of the yard invokes the happy childhood memories of family barbeques and continues to be used for dining. Both terraces have been placed within garden settings to gratify the senses.

A dry stacked stone wall defines the lawn and garden spaces and prevents potential water problems caused by the site’s elevation change. The garden was designed to capitalize on the view of the neighbor’s vintage barn structure. In borrowing this view, and by pulling people through the yard, the sense of the yard has been expanded.
There are wonderful garden views from within the house and from both terraces. The entry into the rear yard, and corners of the house have been softened with plantings of Carpinus ‘Franz Fontaine’. Three Pyrus ‘Cleveland Select’ mark the entry into the latter half of the rear yard. Traditional plants such as Hydrangea, Rosa, Viburnum carlesii, Spirea, Echinacea, Nepeta and other perennials provide seasonal color and fragrance. Existing evergreens which bordered the property remain to provide structure. Some Rhododendron and Azalea which had been planted by the grandfather have been transplanted into the yard’s perimeter.

These modest, but impactful landscape improvements have made a huge influence on the life of this family. During the warmer months, they can be found relaxing outdoors- enjoying the neighborhood from their front porch, or on the terrace in the rear yard playing with their young daughter, enjoying their slice of paradise. The entire landscape is in scale to the house and property. There is proportion between hardscape and softscape. The success of the entire landscape has been accomplished through subtlety and dignity of style.

After the Renovation

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