Grand Entrance

A design team conceives an elegant yet family-friendly landscape in Potomac

While architect Mark Sullenberger created a stately house in Potomac, landscape architect Jeffrey Plusen worked on transforming its barren, two-acre grounds into a welcoming landscape that would reflect the style of the residence.

Among the requests: an arrival court sited on one side of the house to appear less grand. “It’s intended for guests,” Plusen says. “But the owners experience the full property as they travel around the other side to the garage entry.”

Housed beneath a porte cochère, this family entrance leads through arched stone openings to the backyard, where a “destination” pool boasts a pool house, kitchen and covered seating. The patio is travertine, while Carderock stone clads the pool house and nearby fire pit. An allée of Winter King hawthorn separates the porte cochère from the pool area, which flows out to the expansive lawn.

Planted Earth Landscaping was tapped to install plantings, as well as “a complex drainage system under the lawn that ensures the kids can play even after heavy rain,” explains principal Chris Vedrani. An all-white garden of Shasta daisies and other perennials borders the pool while beds of day lily, salvia, fountain grass and geranium embrace the lawn.

The plan also incorporates a storm-water management area by the arrival court. “It’s a rain garden with plants that can tolerate wet feet,” says Plusen. “We turned an engineering element into something beautiful.”

Award: Grand, Residential Maintenance. Landscape Installation & Maintenance: Chris Vedrani, Planted Earth Landscaping Inc., Westminster, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Jeffrey Plusen, RLA, ASLA, Plusen Landscape Architects, Catonsville, Maryland. Architecture: Mark Sullenberger, AIA, Custom Design Concepts, McLean, Virginia.