Phil Kelly, COO of McHale Landscape Design, found his dream project at The Reserve in McLean, Virginia. The designer was involved as construction began on the home, enabling him to transform a blank slate into a landscape that creatively integrates pool and gardens with the architecture of the home.
Kelly started by excavating 300 cubic feet of soil for the foundation and using it to create a level lawn from an unwieldy 13-foot drop on the property. The clients requested a swimming pool in the side yard, and the designer enhanced it by creating a stunning water feature with a vanishing edge that can be seen from inside the home. He centered the pool on an axis with the Georgian-style home’s large center-hall windows.
The focal point of this tableau is a dramatic, hand-cut stone wall flanking the far end of the pool. A center arch adorned with a large urn mimics arches inside the home and sculptures sit on either side.
Nearby, a sundial sculpture draws the eye to a formal garden centered on the dining room doors. A low boxwood hedge and liriope create a tidy green backdrop to a bank of colorful annuals. Walls of Leyland cypress create privacy.
The large brick pool deck provides plenty of room for entertaining and relaxing. American hornbeam and heritage river birch offer respite from the sun and a herringbone brick path winds from the garage through the landscape to the pool. Redbud, viburnum, dogwood, hydrangea and crape myrtles offer multi-seasonal beauty along the way.
Karen Watkins is a freelance writer based in Bethesda, Maryland.
AWARD: DECADE AWARD, TOTAL RESIDENTIAL CONTRACTING. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: PHIL KELLY, McHale Landscape Design, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. PHOTOGRAPHY: KEVIN McHALE