When J. Mark White of GardenWise was called in to restore the garden of a 1920s Colonial Revival, he was already familiar with the property, having previously landscaped the front and back yards. After fire struck the Cleveland Park home, the owners turned to the landscape architect for a redo.
“The backyard was almost completely destroyed,” White says. Luckily, his clients were able to see their loss as an opportunity. With rows of new windows in place, they wanted to complement the home with a new modern landscape.
White says the owners gave him free reign. His concept aimed to break up the small yard with curves and angles to give it structure. A terrace, complete with an outdoor kitchen, creates flow from the house to the garden. Curved steps accented by a hammered metal and glass rail lead down to the patio below.
White salvaged the original bluestone for the patio that stretches on a strong diagonal line to the garage. The angles are softened with curved stones that bank a stream-like water feature lined with a border of airy bamboo. “The juxtaposition of the two makes it work,” White says.
Natural woodland plantings add to the garden’s organic feel. Japanese river grass and nandina provide delicate texture, while a serviceberry tree’s white, cloudlike blossoms herald spring.
An old elm that survived the fire sits in a raised bed built to preserve its roots. It towers over a garden showcasing mountain laurel, ice wing daffodils, white bleeding hearts and Annabelle hydrangeas that provide cool white blooms all summer.
Karen Watkins is a freelance writer based in Bethesda, Maryland.
AWARD: GRAND, OUTDOOR LIVING AREA (DESIGN/BUILD). LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: J. MARK WHITE, GardenWise, Inc., Arlington, Virginia.