The first garden on the tour in Alexandria on Northdown Road was designed by Lynne Church of Lynne Church Landscape Design and Mark Emmell of Greensmiths, Inc. Carved by backhoe from a jungle of honeysuckle and wisteria in 2009, the garden has been improved upon every year since. The owners, nostalgic for their Mt. Dessert summer home, asked for “a bit of Maine on the Potomac.” In response, Lynne chose plants that either grew in Maine or resembled ones that did. Stonework was constructed of large chunks of granite and boulders resembling those along the coast. Plants that invoked Maine included birches (Betula platyphylla var. japonica ‘Whitespire’), white pines, rugosa roses, smooth hydrangeas, ferns and several viburnums.
Originally, the yard had a swimming pool and deck with a spring under the deck. Joan chose to create a multi-level garden by installing a large curved sweep of a deck to bring visitors out into the garden. Under a pergola as you enter you will find a terrace with a fire pit just off the rear of the house.
A few steps down takes the visitor to the extended pool deck, the curve of which is reinforced by a second pergola also designed by Ms. Honeyman of cedar and metal curved around the end of the pool and providing privacy and shade. Much of the rear garden is surrounded by mature ‘Natchez’ crapemyrtles and river birches. Making a virtue of necessity, Joan created a wetland garden from the spring a few steps down from the pool deck. Plants in this garden include a spice bush, stewartia and a bottlebrush buckeye.
In both gardens the lots are constrained by slope, several mature trees, and partially wet conditions, and in both cases the designers capitalized on these potential drawbacks and created gardens of privacy, character, and adaptability.