Intimate Garden Spaces

Photo/Illustration:  David Perry
  1. ‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgidavar. sullivantii‘Goldsturm’, Zones 4–9)
  2. ‘Firetail’ mountain fleeceflower (Persicaria amplexicaulis‘Firetail’, Zones 3–8)
  3. ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower (Helianthus‘Lemon Queen’, Zones 4–9)
  4. Scotch heather (Calluna vulgariscvs., Zones 4–7)
  5. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ boxleaf honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida‘Baggesen’s Gold’, Zones 6–9)
  6. ‘Grace’ purple smoke bush (Cotinus‘Grace’, Zones 4–9)
  7. Gold-leafed black locust (Robinia pseudoacaciacv., Zones 4–9)
  8. ‘Glowing Embers’ bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla‘Glowing Embers’, Zones 6–9)
  9. ‘Skyrocket’ juniper (Juniperus scopulorum‘Skyrocket’, Zones 3–7)

“Start with a sense of enclosure

Enclosure is more than a fence.  The feelilng of being embraced by a space starts with being drawn into the space by a focal point, like a water feature and surrounded by soft plantings.

“To feel cozy or relaxed in a space, one must feel embraced by it, as though it encircles you in solitude and safety.The first step in creating this atmosphere is to providea sense of enclosure.  The construction of a fencearound my client’s courtyard provided a physical enclosure but did nothing to create the feeling of intimacy that she desired.  To achieve a softer, more private space, we added 10- to 20-foot-tall evergreen trees, such  as compact Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Compacta’…and several types of deciduous trees, including large cultivars of Japanese maples (Acer palmatium).While not obscuring the fence, these trees soften it, acting like an informal hedge.  They also provide a canopy or ceiling to  the area, which adds to the aura of privacy and intimacy.”

Fine Gardening , Issue 160, December 2014, pgs. 26-28.

 Hinoki Cypres

  1. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ boxleaf honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’, USDA Hardiness Zones 6–9)
  2. ‘Firetail’ mountain fleeceflower (Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’, Zones 3–8)
  3. Climbing rose (Rosa cv., Zones 2–11)
  4. Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens cv., Zones 4–9

Photo/Illustration:  Lynn Felici-Gallant

It’s not just a bench on a path, A seating area set within the planting–rather than in front of it–makes one feel embraced.

  1. ‘Ballerina’ rose (Rosa‘Ballerina’, Zones 2–11)
  2. ‘Glowing Embers’ bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla‘Glowing Embers’, Zones 6–9)
  3. ‘Skyrocket’ juniper (Juniperus scopulorum‘Skyrocket’, Zones 3–7)
  4. ‘Grace’ purple smoke bush (Cotinus‘Grace’, Zones 4–9)
  5. Compact Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa‘Compacta’, Zones 4–8)
  6. ‘Francee’ hosta (Hosta‘Francee’, Zones 3–9)
  7. ‘Cappuccino’ sedge (Carex tenuiculmis‘Cappuccino’, Zones 7–9)
  8. Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis,Zones 4–7)

“I kept the size of the seating areas small to stay in scale and to maintain the cozy atmosphere.  The same holds true for the paths.  They are just wide enough for folks to stroll two abreast and share the experience together.  If a path is too wide, visitiors lose intimacy with the plants in the garden.”

Fine Gardening , Issue 160, December 2014, pgs. 28-31.

Photo/Illustration:  David Perry
  1. Armenian cranesbill (Geranium psilostemon,Zones 5–8)
  2. ‘Golden Mops’ threadleaf false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera‘Golden Mops’, Zones 4–8)
  3. ‘Glowing Embers’ bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla‘Glowing Embers’, Zones 6–9)
  4. ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lily (Lilium‘Casa Blanca’, Zones 6–9)
  5. ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9)
  6. ‘Helmond Pillar’ Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii‘Helmond Pillar’, Zones 5–8)

Plants and paths create separation
“No matter what the size of the area, if you are trying to create a warm, cozy, contemplative atmosphere, then you must create a sense of seaparation. … The central water feature draws people into the garden.  From there, four paths diverge, adding a sense of mystery and beckoning visitors to explore.

“Along the paths, I created several seating areas, to be used not only for personal time but also for social gatherings.  These seating areas areas are surrounded by plants, and when one is in one spot, the other areas cannot be seen.

“The plants along the paths also help create privacy.  Medium-size evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, for example, screen one area from another.  I make sure, however, to use see-through plants, such as fleeceflower (Persicaria) and tall verbena to create a veil so that the feeling of seclusion never veers into claustrophobia.

 Persicaria amplexicaulis Firetail

Persicaria polymorpha flower (09/06/2011, London) Persicaria polymorpha

“These and other similar plant groupings are dreamy and translucent–not solid or hedgelike–giving the home owner glimpses ahead, leading to a sense that there is always something unexpected just around the corner.”

Fine Gardening , Issue 160, December 2014, pgs. 30-31.

Photo/Illustration:  Lynn Felici-Gallant
  1. Wall germander (Teucrium chamaedrys,Zones 4–9)
  2. Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis,Zones 4–7)
  3. ‘Aureola’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9)
  4. Variegated Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii‘Variegata’, Zones 5–9
  5. Compact laurustinus (Viburnum tinus‘Compactum’, Zones 8–10)
  6. ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental lily (Lilium‘Casa Blanca’, Zones 6–9)

“This area is secluded but not claustrophobic.  Private areas should provide views in and out to keep the area from feeling too distant or lonely.”

Fine Gardening , Issue 160, December 2014, p. 29.

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