Project Details

Photos: Jesse Edsell-Vetter

Plant Collector’s Paradise

Design:   Barbara Popolow

Eliminating lawn leads to reduced maintenance, new entertaining opportunities, and a profusion of specimen plants.

This long-time Brookline maintenance client called upon us to eliminate her lawn in favor of spaces more conducive to entertaining. Designer Barbara Popolow suggested a series of outdoor rooms, connected by meandering paths and delineated by mixed planting beds. A border of deciduous flowering trees and shrubs creates a privacy screen, while allowing “windows” out onto the borrowed landscape of the neighbor’s more traditional lawn.

Popolow’s design is formal near the house – rectangular bluestone patio and rectangular steppers set in peastone. Boxwoods, dwarf rhododendrons, and a line of fothergilla create rhythm and set the formal patio off from the more relaxed area above. Irregular steps and a peastone path wind around to an intimate fieldstone sitting area interplanted with moss. To the front of the house, bluestone steps and a round fieldstone retaining wall tame the front slope to the street. A river of irises and nepeta mimics the movement of the steps.

The details of this plant collector’s garden are made to be appreciated at a stroll. Delicate ferns, fragrant peonies, and self-seeding annuals line the paths. A water feature consisting of a basalt column set in a bed of river stones creates a focal point visible from the large windows of the living room and kitchen.