says. “It is about the shape of a leaf,
the growth pattern of the plant, and
most importantly, about how a plant is
affected by the light of the sun or the
currents of a breeze.” Space-constrained
conifer lovers can appreciate Sally’s
creative solution for small gardens: She
simply switched to miniatures (in the
ground or in troughs) when she ran out
of room for the larger ones.
Containers in the landscape make
texture portable. “I love troughs because
you can easily move them around,”
Sally says, adding that they’re ideal for
conifers because they drain well.
Rocks also add an organic element
to the garden. “Rocks are a wonderful
way to organize and unify space in
a woodland garden,” Messervy says.
“Rocks should feel like they have
just emerged from the earth, versus
being precariously perched or neatly
arranged.” That’s why Sally avoids
symmetrical arrangements and instead
mimics natural formations by digging
rocks into the soil.
Following the principle that anything
you can create in the back, you can
bring to the front, Sally decided to
design a water feature. The landscape
naturally slants toward the street, so
the conditions were ideal for a beautiful
waterfall that cascades down a rocky
stream and into a pond.
Front-facing gardens need to balance
space with a feeling of cozy enclosure,
Messervy says. Sally achieved this by
leaving open green space at the garden’s
edge but also planting three beds at the
street. Each is anchored by a tree and
features texture-rich succulents—a
great low-maintenance option. Mulch of
various sizes of rocks—from pea gravel
to boulders salvaged from construction
sites—plus plenty of sunshine and
radiant heat from the sidewalk, create
just the right conditions for majority of
plants grown in Sally’s garden.
The street side beds act as invitations
to explore Sally’s front garden. Creating
her woodland setting on a street filled
with grassy expanses was a huge risk, but
the rewards are now evident. It’s evident
that a front garden can reaffirm the
status quo or show the world a piece of
who you really are. ■
The key to the large water feature
was getting the drainage right. The
streambed starts near the house and
drains into the main pool here.
The intriguing forms of
Bromeliads accent the greenery.
Top right:
Metal turtle stepping-stones
add a hint of whimsy to an already
rocky path.
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