Subtle Renewal

Prized plants and vintage materials fuel a Great Falls makeover

Over time, even a wonderful garden can outlive its own best interests. In Great Falls, Virginia, a thoughtful owner recognized that mature trees shading his roof offered more risk than reward, and that the garden’s existing pool, patio and gazebo had aged. He asked McHale Landscape Design to rescue the property with a respectful revival.

“The skeleton was there,” says Anthony Cusat, senior landscape architect, who led the renovation. Ten canopy trees were removed from the front yard, brightening the street façade and better suiting sun-loving perennials. A new walkway and entry piers enhanced curb appeal.

In back, long, linear terraces and a strong axial relationship nicely united the house with the pool and gazebo. Cusat fit a fireplace into the gazebo and added an outdoor kitchen under an existing porch. Vintage brick around the pool was retained while the patio was relaid with random rectangular Pennsylvania flagstone to match the new front walk. The great challenge during the project came in “trying to marry the old with the new,” Cusat recalls. “We tried to make it seem like everything was always there.”

The owner’s prized collection of plantings—including a small Japanese maple—was transplanted for easier viewing. “First and foremost, the homeowners are garden enthusiasts,” says Cusat. “They love the outdoors and the opportunity to share it with family and friends.”

Award: Distinction, Total Residential Contracting. Landscape Architecture: Anthony R. Cusat, RLA, McHale Landscape Design, Inc., Upper Marlboro, Maryland.