Project Details

Photos: Jesse Edsell-Vetter

Hillside Haven

Design:   Sally Naish, Light & Shade Garden Design

Stone terraces tame a steep slope, creating a series of outdoor rooms to explore.

Pre-construction, this couple had about 10’ of flat lawn before their back yard sloped steeply upward. Designer Sally Naish developed a plan to terrace the site with a series of 2’-3’ high dry-stacked retaining walls. Bluestone steps and walkways meander from the main dining patio to the raised planting beds and sheltered hideaways above. Naish selected two types of stone – bluestone for the paving and South Bay quartzite for the walls – and repeated them throughout, creating a visual harmony of soft blues and tans. By using formal rectangular bluestone for the dining patio and natural irregular bluestone for the terraces above, she created a hierarchy of spaces moving from public to private. Narrower steps and peastone paths underscore the distinction as one walks through the garden.

A garden full of stone risks feeling hard and cold, but plants and low-voltage outdoor lighting make it feel warm and welcoming instead. Lavender atop the walls and creeping thyme between the bluestone pavers give off a soft scent when crushed, and dwarf fountain grasses sway in the breeze. Uplights bring out the texture of the walls and plantings, and built-in wall lights ensure that guests can enjoy the garden well into the evening.