Garden on the Oak Road

Philadelphia, PA, 2011-2016

The garden surrounding this fine 1920’s stone colonial revival house had originally been planted with many boxwoods, evergreen trees, azaleas and rhododendrons. It is a compact garden of half an acre, in a neighborhood of similar properties. Many old plants in good condition remain, but the garden had grown rather tired and under appreciated. The plan for the renovation of the garden prioritized the preservation of these old plants, re-organized the garden spaces to better display them, while better suiting the needs of the owners.

Like many such houses in Philadelphia, the front façade is perpendicular to the street, and in this case, faces a large red-brick Georgian-style church. A new stone-edged grass court, framed by compact evergreen trees claims a space for the front door and provides a suitable foreground for the house. The front walkway, edged with large existing boxwoods, now continues through a gate to the more private portion of the garden. By re-locating several very large shrubs, this rear yard has been opened up to include a lawn and a view from the covered porch.

The lawn is now edged with a multi-layer shrub border, organized around mature existing and transplanted shrubs. Similarly, the garden between the house and the street has been re-organized to create a more graceful lawn area and to provide better views from the inside rooms.