Gardens go in and out of fashion. When landscape architect Richard Arentz began work on a Northwest DC project several years ago, it was clearly out of date. It had an oddly shaped pool, a large lawn, some statuary and a small fountain. The homeowners told him they wanted an updated, more attractive design that would provide more screening for privacy.
Arentz devised a plan that reflects the Federal style of the house. The former pool was repurposed as the basement of a new conservatory, while a formal fountain with water lilies is now the garden’s central feature. “The fountain really is the garden,” says Arentz. “It draws you out, and there’s a connectivity from the house to the garden that didn’t exist before.” The conservatory, he says, serves as “an outdoor living destination” where the homeowners can enjoy the view year-round.
Ironwood LLC, Arentz’s contracting firm, maintained a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail on the project. All of the stone in the new fountain and pool garden was cut in France and shipped to the U.S. Ironwood also preserved the property’s magnificent magnolia trees. Boxwoods and a clipped yew hedge lend the garden a formal air, but there’s also a seasonal flowering shrub border and planters with annuals that change with the seasons. The plantings impart “a very edited, tailored feeling,” says Arentz, but the main feature remains the fountain pool, which will never go out of style. “It’s a very formal gesture,” he says, “but if you strip away all the layers, it transcends and becomes a timeless design.”
AWARD: Grand, Total Residential Contracting. CONTRACTOR: Ironwood, LLC, Washington, DC. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE & PHOTOGRAPHY: Richard Arentz, Ironwood, LLC, Washington, DC.