“Then, three years ago, the couple transformed their “passageway” into an airy, 1,200-square-foot, outdoor courtyard that not only boasts horticultural splendor but also provides an extra room for living and entertaining.
During excavation to create the multi-level garden extension, which was designed by landscape architect Mark Willard Associates, and constructed, planted and maintained by Conceptual Building and Landscape Ltd., the foundation of the house’s original, 1869 summer kitchen was uncovered. A remnant of its stone wall now serves as a backdrop to the outdoor grill area, and as a transition from an intimate outdoor breakfast room (created with a bluestone patio and three columnar European hornbeams for privacy) to a more formal outdoor dining level.
“I wanted to continue the diagonals,” says Adams, an attorney-turned-art historian. She points to the Chinese Chippendale railings, already on the house and garage when she and Friedlander moved in, then to the diagonal herringbone pattern of the new brick paths and patio. Two gates, at the front and back of the garden, as well as six trellises anchored to the brick walls, repeat the diagonal pattern with latticework.
The Georgian character and symmetry of the brick townhouse extends from the large Palladian window and railings to the garden. The curve of the window is repeated in a bed of hostas and ferns beneath a central magnolia. Scrolled, cast stone jardinieres sit beside four original, red brick columns that are now topped with English lanterns that function “like sconces in a dining room,” says Adams.
Adding to the courtyard’s flow is a creamy white ribbon: cream-colored bricks and railings, along with white-blooming impatiens in the jardinieres and pots, and white-blooming begonias in a planter on the glass-topped dining table. “White shows up well at night,” says Adams, “and it’s very cool to look at.” White continues spring to fall with daffodils, tulips, climbing hydrangea, autumn clematis and “Mona Lisa” Asiatic lilies.
Perennials such as pale pink astilbe and clematis on the trellis, lavender blooming liriope, hosta and grape hyacinth and yellow ‘Hyperion’ daylilies add color to the courtyard. Spidery dwarf mondo grass, Japanese painted ferns, ivy, pachysandra and the foliage of yews, azaleas, Japanese Andromeda and cherry laurel bushes offer a variety of green textures.
Adams and Friedlander, an attorney-turned-doctor, enjoy eating dinner and entertaining family and friends in the garden. They use lighting to continue the visual flow from inside the house, through the courtyard, to the carriage-house garage. Uplighting plays light and shadow off small round leaves on the hornbeams, the waxy magnolia leaves at garden center and feathery Japanese maple leaves by the back gate. Downlighting shadows patterns of leaves, branches and garden foliage on the herringbone brick carpet throughout the courtyard.
“When Mark suggested the lighting, at first we thought it was over the top,” says Adams. “But it really makes a difference. It adds drama and warmth, and it helps to create a feeling that you’re in a room outdoors when it’s dusk or dark.”
This garden will be featured on the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage on April 24. For more information, call 410-821-6933 or visit http://www.MHGP.org.