Two main issues were revealed soon after discussions began with this Carroll Gardens client. An extended family owns two adjoining row houses and share the 22' by 32' garden. The garden is primarily used for cooking year-round, sharing meals when the weather permits and entertaining friends.
Since family members often travel from one house to the other through their back doors it was important to create a safe and functional path between the two properties that opened up into the shared space. The solution was to build an Ipe (tropical hardwood) deck that was covered with a standing seam galvanized roof. This approach solved the client's needs while adding a country feel with year- round protection from the elements. The porch edging also created additional seating for the family and guests.
The second longstanding issue for this space was poor drainage and serious mosquito issues. By removing all of the grass and replacing it with a 2' layer of gravel the drainage and mosquito issues were mitigated while created a neutral gray floor that accentuates the garden's new elements.
Following the usual steps in building a new garden the first element to be installed was a horizontal cedar fence. The fence became visual bookends that helped to shape the scope and scale of the remaining elements. As the garden installation evolved a cedar trellis was built to hide the AC unit and a cedar shed was built to store bikes, toys and additional cooking equipment. Planting materials were kept simple to add warmth, offset the hardscaping and keep maintenance to a minimum.
An ongoing creative collaboration with the client was a major factor in the garden's success.
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