Outdoor "room"

three3applesJuly 5, 2014

Since I know you all better here than the people on the Garden forum I thought I'd crosspost here in case anyone is interested in weighing in on our courtyard design. As you'll see, this courtyard is in our backyard and, though it has a long way to go, we need to make some decisions soon. I am trying to decide both what style and size fountain and also how to "trim" the edges of the parterre portions of this courtyard. While I initially thought dwarf boxwood was the answer, I forgot that the walls closest to the house will only have a foot of a reveal at most and that having hedges higher than the wall might look odd. Behind that is the sunken patio for our walk out basement and we didn't want it to feel like a dungeon so those walls are not as high as the ones you'll see elsewhere.

I'm open to anything that fits with the Georgian look I'm going for. Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: my post on the garden forum

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Hopefully you'll be able to achieve the look you want without using boxwood. Boxwood is a valuable shrub - versatile, elegant, simple. Unfortunately it's been hit by a terrible disease and at the moment there's no treatment and it's difficult to prevent. There are a few varieties that seem to be resistant but I'm not sure you'd want to chance it.

Here is a link that might be useful: boxwood blight

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 9:47PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Oh no maire-cate! I hadn't heard about this and I have lots of lovely boxwood around my house. I love the look, the deer resistance and the fragrance. Oh dear...this is horrible news....

I'm beginning to think that, before long, all we'll have are poison ivy and barberry. Why aren't there blights that eliminate weeds and keep the good stuff???

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:23AM
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No advice to give, but if the back of your house is that awesome, I can only imagine how wonderful the front must be.

If that boxwood blight hits my town, things are going to look a lot different. The major historical homes around here have a lot boxwood.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:40AM
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I have boxwood just about everywhere, and it is still being planted in gardens throughout the south. There's really nothing else that has such a tight structure that can be shaped. I would consult your nursery about using it.

The rear facade of your home is outrageously wonderful, three apples! I have never seen a sunken parterre but it will be something beautiful for all the windows to look down upon. I know I must sound like a broken record, but I hope you have involved a professional in the form of a good landscape architect, as drainage will be a major issue in the lower areas that have been dug out around the walkout area. Hardscaping such as your retaining walls need a comprehensive drainage plan when you have several levels like that. (We made huge changes to the topography of our backyard but NOTHING like the scale you have, trusting the builder to address all the potential drainage issues. They didn't :-( and it was a lot of time and $ to correct afterwards.)

Also wanted to thank you again for your recommendation of Microseal. We had every sofa, chair, daybed, pillow, rug and carpet in our finished basement treated with Microseal, and I have already seen how well it works so we
are now having the rest of our rugs treated. I don't think I would have taken the plunge to that extent if I hadn't received a personal recommendation!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:37AM
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You are welcome on the Microseal recommendation. We are happy with it so far, though nobody has spilled anything to my knowledge ;)

I updated the thread on the garden forum (linked above) with options for fountains. I am really torn here and would love advice. I believe my husband would be content with the easiest out-of-box solution, but I am unsure.

Yes, drainage design was key and we believe all involved have covered all the bases. Since putting in the drains and the walls we've had some torrential downpours and have had no water issues whatsoever (not the case before this was constructed). I'm confident they took everything into account when engineering the water drainage issues.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 11:21AM
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Sorry, threeapples, I thought I had left essentially the same comment somewhere but did not remember it was on the garden thread.....posting too late at night, lol. I will look at those fountains linked on the garden thread. The curbed surrounds look great but depending upon the amount of space could seem to crowd the fountain. I'll stick to the garden thread from this point :-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Do you definitely want a fountain? Since the area is to one side of the house a small, symmetrical formal garden without the fountain may suit better.

Generally, most Georgian style fountains would be lined up with a central point of the house, usually the center of the front or back of the house. Below is the Atlanta Swann house, the fountain is to the side of the house.

This post was edited by athomeinva on Mon, Jul 7, 14 at 13:57

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:28AM
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Here is a link to one of the best pin board collections of inspiration of green and white classic gardens ....

Also click on the pinner's name at the top -- she has LOTS of pin boards for Georgian and classic homes .....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- white gardens

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:46AM
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Here's another pin board for ideas too ....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- 18th-19th century style gardens

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 8:48AM
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I've basically scanned your two posts, but my first thought was that your space was way too crowded with the 4 parterres, and since you now have almost nixed those in favor of the border, can I offer another idea? How about a triangular bed in each corner? I would put a dwarf taller plant (maybe a conifer like a soft cryptomeria) in the corner flanked by the boxwoods for some interest. It would better balance the space instead of just a 'ring' of boxwoods. There are also some really nice variegated dwarf boxwoods (I have some around our pond) that would be a nice complement to your stonework. It would also give your fountain a little more space, not to mention more walking room. You need at least 3' of pathway.

I would keep the fountain/pool small-ish, but ensure there is some height there in keeping with your house. I love the look of an urn with your home. Are you going to be doing the maintenance on the fountain yourselves? If so, an urn or vessel does require some periodic maintenance to keep leaves out and algae at bay. Not much, just some scrubbing, etc, and winterizing, depending on your climate. Something to keep in mind. It will be beautiful no matter which you choose.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Athome, I LOVE that photo and have loved that fountain for a long time.
The center of this courtyard is not aligned with the center of the house. We couldn't do that because of land grading and the location of our keeping room.
Teacats, thank you for the Pinterest boards--the photos are gorgeous and helpful.
I'm looking into an armillary sphere instead of a fountain. I'll post when I find something.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:52PM
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