English Charm

Flowering trees, climbing roses, meticulously trimmed boxwoods, gorgeous container plantings and a grand terrace make for a truly special space.



photograph by hülya kolobas

A skilled garden designer is a bit like a first-rate stylist.


An accomplished stylist listens to the client, learns about her tastes, and fashions looks that are manageable and work in all situations. Now consider the landscape designer. He or she interviews the client to learn about needs and preferences, builds an outdoor space that looks good in all seasons, and considers maintenance requirements.

 

 

Garden designer Tim Patterson did just that for a landscape in Greenwich. “I met with the couple and discovered that they had lived in London for four years,” he explains. “They had very strong associations with European gardens, which is why
I thought of symmetry from the outset.” As we began our tour of the lush front yard, his intention was clearly demonstrated by mirror beds of blue and white flowering hydrangeas, lilacs, parallel boxwood hedges and twin oak trees — a formal look that made a perfect first impression for the brick house in the Norman style.

 

As Tim asked his clients questions, he discovered that they had rather specific needs from their property –— what professionals refer to as the program. “I am always pushing forward on two tracks. The practical side and the unique considerations when the fun comes in,” he says. “I am always moving between these trains, as I listen to clients tell me about their lifestyle, how they entertain, and how the garden has to fit into their busy lives.”

Entertaining outdoors is very important to the couple, but they like to do it in courses. Considering the way the property rolls down from the house, Patterson developed a terrace supported by retaining walls that run along the entire back of
the house. There are disparate areas that lead to one another. The spaces are partially screened from each other by arrangements of potted hydrangeas and white roses, with tropicals such as tree ferns and sky blue plumbago continuing the terrace’s light motif of blue and white.

Cocktails are served in the first area with comfortable chairs and low tables. Then guests walk to the outdoor dining room, and, later, to another space for dessert. So not only does dinner come in acts, the aftermath is discreetly left behind. Even meal preparation is part of the performance in one area just outside the house’s kitchen with an outdoor grill and fireplace and decorated with potted herbs and leaf lettuce, citrus trees and climbing roses framing the kitchen window.

In summer, there are only glimpses of the rest of the property from these recreational spaces through a screen of brilliant white Kousa dogwood trees and deciduous shrubs. In winter, the landscape changes with views from the indoors of a snow-covered lawn to trees that etch their silhouettes against the February sky.

Why close off the rest of the property? Intimacy? Privacy? Sometimes the richness of a landscape and even its size are enhanced not by opening everything up, but by closing in spaces to allow them to be discovered one by one. If not for the pool house structure peaking above a perennial border, for example, you’d never know there was a swimming pool beyond the beds of colorful flowers. There is a tennis court, and a soon-to-be vegetable garden. But these elements are not apparent until a visitor crosses the quiet road in front of the house, passes by spring-flowering Yoshino cherry trees and through an arched opening in a long brick wall festooned with a collection of vines. “My mother had a walled garden within a former monastery,” Patterson says.

Cocktails are served in the first area with comfortable chairs and low tables. Then guests walk to the outdoor dining room, and, later, to another space for dessert.

The idea of “rooms” in a landscape has its roots in Edwardian era Great Britain when gardens and hedges were planted in old foundations by the stars of that time, such as Vita Sackville- West and William Robinson. These are familiar names to Tim Patterson, who was born in Scotland and studied Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh University after a stint in the army stationed in Belize. But it was in that Central American country where he was bitten by the plant bug. While on patrols, he found himself photographing orchids and ultimately building a tropical garden. Fast forward to the Northeast, United States, the verdant estates of Westchester and Southeastern Connecticut, and the formation of Highland Design, his Pound Ridge, New York, firm.

There is one vista on the property at the end of the walk leading from the home’s front door. It is a pastoral view of trees on a hillside. It is hard to tell if the trees are one hundred feet away or a thousand feet in the distance. “That’s where the deer run,” Tim explains, and thankfully, for now, that is pretty much where they stay. But as neighboring properties are developed, the deer will be squeezed closer to a tempting collection of roses and blooming climbers that cover the fence around the tennis court.

The enclosed intimate garden spaces stay in my mind, and perhaps most of all, the small side garden, which is an embellished path to the back gardens and swimming pool. This snug area along the side of the house is filled with color, and plants like roses — close-up and personal. The walk dips with steps flanked by brick walls. At the pathway’s end, there are two benches facing each other making yet another spot for a personal moment among the lush white-flowered Seven-sons tree with shaggy beige bark, climbing roses and more Kousa dogwoods. It is this cozy scene within the ample property that shows off Patterson’s talent, and reminds me that great things often happen in small spaces. This Greenwich house became a home, thanks to just the right setting created with careful consideration by a talented designer.

 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Meet Author/Comedian Annabelle Gurwitch

    2014.10.19
     @ The Drawing Room

    The former co-host of Dinner and a Movie presents her new collection of essays about the hazards of approaching the half-century mark. Actress,...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Fine Dining at Crew to Benefit Child Guidance Center

    2014.10.20
     @ Crew Restaurant

    “I am a huge believer in giving back,” says Chris Geideman, Executive Chef and Owner at Crew in Greenwich. “As a community,...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Financial Literacy 2-Day Lecture Presented by Bob Salomon at YMCA of Greenwich

    2014.10.21
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    Making sense of the world of finance FREE and open to all *Participants should pick up a copy of the Wall Street Journal on Oct.22, as Bob...

  • Paint the Town Pink

    2014.10.21
     @ Lux Bond & Green

    Key to the Treasure Chest Indulge yourself at an elegant but fun event presented by Lux Bond & Green and Anne Fontaine Preview the newest...

  • Meet Nomi Eve, Author of Henna House

    2014.10.22

    An evocative and stirring novel about a young woman living in the fascinating and rarely portrayed community of Yemenite Jews of the mid-twentieth...

  • Susan G. Komen CT Educational Session at YMCA of Greenwich

    2014.10.22
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    FREE AND OPEN TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY! Learn about the importance of early detection and screenings Meet the men and women whose work is...

  • Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Networking Event

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce will hold its October After Six Networking event. All are invited to exchange business cards, enjoy appetizers and...

  • October After Six

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Join us for After Six Networking at the Delamar Hotel

  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

    2014.10.23

    Athome Magazine celebrates Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' fall collection with fabulous vignettes from some of your favorite A-List designers....

  • Oktoberfest 2014 Greenwich United Way

    2014.10.24
     @ Loading Dock

    Greenwich United Way’s sixth annual “Oktoberfest” fundraiser is set for Friday, October 24 at Stamford’s Loading...

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Into The Woods
    Bruce Museum's 27th Annual Renaissance Ball
  2. Henry & Me
    Greenwich
  3. Joie Shopping Event
    Joie Greenwich
  4. B2B Blast Off Event
    Greenwich
  5. Go For Pink
    Greenwich Avenue