You don’t have to be called Heidi and own a small herd of goats to successfully garden on a sloping site. Just ask Rosie Davidson who recently opened her garden to a group of Garden Communicators on tour, as part of the 2016 national conference of GWA in Georgia during September.
It is always tricky trying to design usable garden spaces on a sloping block. Trying to create interesting areas and accommodate a swimming pool and spots to sit and enjoy the great outdoors without chairs sitting on awkward angles and visitors leaving your place looking slightly more distorted than when they arrived and losing the food you have carefully prepared as it slides off their plates. As a Garden Designer or creative home owner if you’re into DIY, the challenge is to create areas of flat, both big and small within the sloping block. Practically, the garden owner wants to make the most out of every square foot of their land and also avoid completely covering their guests’ clothing in food and wine and losing all of their friends in the process!
Mrs Davidson warmly welcomed us to her property which offers an enchanting garden built into a hillside in a leafy green neighborhood in Atlanta. The gardens have been created over four levels and a combination of rustic steps, brick paving and gravel pathways provide variation of underfoot experiences and easy access by winding into the contours of the garden rather than going straight up (which is enough to exhaust anyone, let alone when you’re carrying plants and bags of fertilizer to tend to your garden).
The garden provides cool tranquility and respite from the heat on a summer afternoon, large canopy trees form a living green baldachin overhead with just a hint of middle-of-the-day sunlight and blue sky penetrating through.
I could have easily jumped into that deep blue swimming pool clothes and all…if only 50 people weren’t watching, it was very inviting! A large wall of Miscanthus created privacy as well as whimsical movement above the swimming pool area which was also surrounded by a meticulously clipped 7′ high hedge for extra privacy and screening and acts like a living wall additionally providing sheltered habitat for birds. Love that!
The shadowing on the pool created by the trees in the upper story above was almost mirror like on this still afternoon and really quite beautiful.
Can you see the trees reflecting in the water?
Lush verdant green areas offer tranquility, sometimes people forget that green is a color and that we need it to rest our eyes from the intensity provided by flowers. Small areas of green ground covers and raised terraced gardens offering depth and shades of brown through the use of beautifully crafted stone retaining walls were a wonderful feature of this garden. I almost felt like I was climbing up into the forest beyond.
A delicious collection of succulents close to the house offered a splash of color, texture and fun by the use of a variety of terracotta and glazed pots.
Ophiopogon japonicus (Mondo Grass) provided soft edges to a gravel pathway leading down to the main entertaining terrace.
Pots filled with healthy flowering plants and a beautiful potted Acer palmatum provided added interest to this lovely garden.
You can always tell a little about a garden owner by the art that they choose to accent certain spaces in their garden and Mrs Davidsons garden is no exception, she’s a cheerful and very bubbly garden owner which is reflected in the pieces she has chosen for her garden, a little bit of vagary and fun throughout the garden never goes astray.
This was a most enjoyable way to conclude a full day of garden visiting, a calm oasis before heading back into the busy city streets of downtown Atlanta.
Thank you, Rosie Davidson for sharing your stunning garden with us.