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The finished space boasts a large, rectangular lawn, gravel paths and plantings of Winter King hawthorn, boxwood and liriope.

Goffin clad the yoga studio in stucco to complement the main house.

Chairs are gathered in front of a clipped hornbeam hedge.

A sculpture adorns a flagstone wall.

A DC client purchased the property adjacent to his home and tapped Katia Goffin to transform it into a tranquil garden with a yoga studio.

Moment of Zen

Katia Goffin creates a serene yoga retreat and meditation garden in DC’s Wesley Heights

It’s hard to imagine a more fabulous birthday present: A DC client of Katia Goffin’s acquired and tore down his next-door neighbor’s house—in order to build a yoga studio and garden for his wife on the adjacent property.

With a four-foot drop between the two lots and an eight-to-10-foot elevation change on the new site, the landscape designer says the goal was to “seamlessly merge the two properties aesthetically and functionally,” providing “a private, green haven for the family.” After the adjacent house was razed, most of the one-fifth acre lot was leveled. Goffin only preserved the former home’s garage, which became the yoga studio.

A new retaining wall and cedar fence were installed near the former property line, with a series of steps leading down into the new garden. Now, views from the main house fan out to the vista below, encompassing a large, rectangular lawn, gravel paths and a fieldstone wall.

The yoga studio—clad in stucco to match the clients’ European-style Tudor house—overlooks a meditation garden accentuated by a soothing trio of Winter King hawthorn, boxwood and liriope ground cover. Chairs are gathered in front of a clipped hornbeam hedge—a gesture Goffin repeated around the perimeter of the garden to obscure neighboring houses and the street. Behind the fieldstone wall is a row of Japanese cedar and a five-foot drop filled with oakleaf hydrangea. At the bottom, an existing slate walkway connects via stepping stones up to the main house’s garden and circuitous gravel paths.

Goffin’s designs always feature a simple plant palette. “I try not to use more than five or six species,” she says, pointing out that this garden has “an architectural, orderly and effortless approach. It feels like it’s always been there.”

Landscape Design: Katia Goffin, ASLA, Katia Goffin Gardens, McLean, Virginia. Landscape Contractor: Y&A Landscaping, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

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