Magazine article Sunset

Evergreen Tapestry

Magazine article Sunset

Evergreen Tapestry

Article excerpt

Create a picture-perfect view with layers of bold shrubs and perennials

SUPERB VISTAS-whether natural or created-are what the best gardens are all about. Architect and homeowner Robert Dlugosh and partner Don McKee wanted precisely that effect, but a busy street offered few options in front. So they turned their attention to the backyard, hiring landscape designer Jordan Jackson to give them a rear garden worth looking at.

The small city yard already felt private, thanks to a group of sheared arborvitae, camellias, English hollies, English laurels, and other large evergreens planted along the neighbors' property line. The giant gumdrop shapes were fun but too formal.

Jackson softened the clipped forms with a collection of well-mannered-but never sheared-evergreen shrubs and trees, such as Chamaecyparis pis/fera 'Boulevard', hinoki false cypress (Chamaecyparis ofatusaj, holly-leaf osmanthus, Japanese holly, and weeping blue Atlas cedar. "The design is controlled but loose," he explains. Daylilies, irises, peonies, and roses add welcome color to the mix of evergreens. A path leads to a satellite seating area that replaced a small lawn.

The transformation was so successful that Dlugosh and McKee could no longer tolerate the front yard, where a decadesold rock wall was overgrown with junipers and kinnikinnick. Jackson replaced most of them with groundcovers that enhance the range of colors and textures visible from the street.

Four great ideas from this garden

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