Home & Design

California Contemporary to European Traditional

Chapel Valley Landscape Company, Woodbine, Maryland; Grand Award, Total Residential Contracting

California Contemporary to European Traditional

When the timber retaining walls on his patio began to rot, Landon Reeve, founder and owner of Chapel Valley Landscape Company, decided it was time to re-do the garden. "I wanted to make sure I built it for the long term," he said.He and his wife, Dallas, an artist, decided to re-do the house as well as the landscape, transforming the dark brown California contemporary into a Mediterranean-style home. It now has a second-story veranda, a loggia tucked in below it and expansive, panoramic views.The old, irregular-shaped swimming pool was replaced with a formal lap pool centered on the rear of the house and surrounded by pergolas and plantings. According to Dallas Reeve, she and her husband wanted to enclose the pool with "green space" and give it "a more intimate feel." Beyond the pool is a demi-lune garden, which progresses from irises and bulbs in spring to phlox, red bergamot, daylilies and black-eyed susans in summer, all reflected in the water.

The Reeves also incorporated a huge space for entertaining. Parking near the front entry of the house, visitors can walk through a rose-covered trellis, down a winding path, through another trellis and down to the pool. A broad lawn area can accommodate a tent and steps through multi-level terraces ease the flow of guests throughout the landscape.

In addition to all the above, the Reeves have a private, walled patio with small a lily pond, hostas, ferns and kirengeshoma, and a kousa dogwood that's original to the house. It's shaded by an enormous blue atlas cedar that Landon Reeve planted in 1971.

A driveway that runs in front of the house is disguised by a split-rail fence and a vegetable and flower garden behind it. Laid out in a formal pattern of squares with a five-foot-wide perennial border, it was inspired by a trip to Ireland, where the couple visited 19 gardens. Eventually, says Landon Reeve, it will "blend in" to the landscape and make the driveway "disappear over time."

While landscape architects at Chapel Valley designed the garden's formal layout, the Reeves selected the plants and colors themselves. "The planting really became my hobby," Landon Reeve said, "because I'm a horticulturist." In his view, the garden "is not yet perfect," but as any avid plantsman or designer would say, "every garden is an ongoing process."


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