Al Fresco Style

 

Garden trends are shifting as homeowners become more discriminating about their choices of materials and plantings. Almost everyone now wants an outdoor “room” instead of a simple garden with handsome plantings, and today’s outdoor spaces nearly always include special features that extend the garden’s season.

On the pages that follow, you’ll see five elegant gardens that were among the winners of the 2008 “Excellence in Landscape” awards sponsored by the Landscape Contractors Association (LCA) of Maryland, DC and Virginia. A tiny garden on R Street in Georgetown features a heated spa that can be used year-round. A garden conservatory in Northwest DC is outfitted with a fireplace that makes it cozy in winter and air-conditioning that keeps it cool in summer.

Landscape architect Chad Talton of Surrounds Landscape Architecture and Construction designed a garden in McLean that includes a shady area underneath a spacious deck and a separate poolside bar with a built-in wine rack, counter space, refrigerator and sink. “Across the board,” he says, “most people ask for an outdoor grill area. And a lot of them ask for outdoor structures, whether it’s an arbor, a pergola or a pool house.”

Designer Brian Hunt of Botanical Decorators agrees. “A real trend these days is an outdoor fireplace,” Hunt says, “and more homeowners are asking for landscape lighting.”

At Fine Earth Landscape, Inc., designer Joel Hafner sees more requests for specific materials and styles. The ubiquitous azalea, he says, is “a dying breed,” because clients have decided that they don’t like the look of them after their brief bloom in spring. “We get a lot of requests for cut-flower gardens and hydrangeas,” says Hafner, gardens with “an English feeling.” Others ask for in-ground trampolines and paving materials that stay cooler than bluestone, he says.

Luckily, local landscape professionals are staying ahead of the curve and meeting their clients’ needs in style, as you’ll discover in the award-winning gardens on the following pages.

Jane Berger is a Washington, DC-based landscape designer and publisher of GardenDesign Online.com.

AUTHOR: Jane Berger is a Washington, DC-based landscape designer and publisher of GardenDesign Online.com. AWARD: This Baltimore garden by Chapel Valley Landscape Company won two LCA awards.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Roger Foley.

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