Make me a match: Color unifies a landscape

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Photo: Robert Radifera Photo: Robert Radifera

“I’m a firm believer in editing,” said landscape architect Anna Boeschenstein. On a project at a historic Free Union property, her tendency to omit the useless came in handy. The house dates to the 1700s and has received numerous additions since it was built, resulting in “all these disparate elements—house additions, patios, pergola, the pool that was falling apart.” Meanwhile, the owner was interested in adding still more: retaining walls to terrace a “fairly unusable slope” between her house and the lake it overlooks.

Hoping to tie it all together, Boeschenstein, founder of Grounded LLC, created a four-phase master plan for the property, encompassing various garden beds, plus a patio, firepit, and pathways. But first, in phase one, the challenge was to renovate the existing pool and terrace the slope without cluttering up the site.

Photo: Robert Radifera
Photo: Robert Radifera

Boeschenstein’s first strategy was to align stairs in the retaining walls with the house’s doors. “Being a landscape architect, I love axial relationships,” she said. And she collaborated with the homeowner and contractor (Andy Guercio of Windridge Landscaping) to create a harmonious materials palette.

“[The owner] had wanted to use limestone for the pool surround,” she explained. “We found a limestone that had warm brown hues in it that picked up browns in the fieldstone walls, which then in turn pick up reds and browns in the old brick of the house. There’s a progression of materials as you move from pool terrace up toward the house.” Even the color of the pool plaster echoes the hue of the lake beyond.

The owner—who bought the property three years ago after living for a time in England—is working toward an English garden aesthetic, with lots of perennial plantings. And phase two is currently underway: an herb garden framed in brick and paths of Monticello mix. That’s a cream-colored stone dust that matches not only the trim on the exterior of the house, but the family dog, a cream-colored poodle.

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