Design

Tour an Architect’s Spring Garden in Coastal Connecticut

Video: Christine Alexander

The garden of architect Fred Bland sits on just over an acre in coastal Stony Creek, Connecticut. Fred’s approach to designing his garden relied heavily on his experience with designing buildings. With a strong enough framework, Fred knew that his garden could look good in every season. As Fred says, “The Architectural Designer Me continually duels with the Plant Collector Me, neither one ever winning. A balance of the two is rarely achieved in my observations of gardens, but this was my goal: a balance between the insatiable collector and the incurable designer.” The general layout seeks to organize the plant palette and direct your eye intentionally through the space. This was done by utilizing three specific design principles:

AXIAL ARRANGEMENTS. Various parts of the garden are arranged to allow for long, uninterrupted sightlines. When standing at a specific center point, you can see clear connections between various garden elements.

YEAR-ROUND INTEREST. Sharp edges, stone walls, evergreens, and a unique serpentine hedge add definition and interest regardless of the season. Even in snow these elements stand out and give the garden visual appeal.

UNIFYING GATEWAYS. Whether a pair of neatly trimmed boxwoods or an arbor covered in roses, various subtle gateways are used to signal the transition from one area of the garden to the next.

Another tactic of Fred’s design process was thinking of plants as three different types of buildings: low-slung factories, medium-size row houses, and tall skyscrapers. Classifying the perennials, trees, and shrubs this way helped determine the planting plan. The result is a space that is filled with endless color and texture. “As it turned out, being an architect in the garden was more of an advantage than a disadvantage, and I’m pleased to say my eye delights at the view from my drafting board every month of the year,” says Fred. Take a tour through this space and we’re sure you’ll be delighted as well.

 

More

See more of Fred’s garden

Fred’s favorite structural plants

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