Home & Design

Great Outdoors: Formal Beauty

A lush landscape blooms around a venerable Georgetown abode

Over many decades, an historic manse grew to encompass a verdant landscape that suited its stately style. “The property dates back to the early 1800s and we’ve maintained it for 20 years,” relates McHale Landscape Design’s design/build president Phil Kelly. Measuring in at one acre, “it’s one of the largest residential properties in Georgetown,” he notes. 

Originally conceived by Connecticut-based landscape architecture firm James Doyle Design Associates, the grounds today are luxuriant yet structured. In front, a distinctive checkerboard surface of brown and beige precast tile forms an entry path flanked by azalea and boxwood. The wide side yard, protected by a tall privacy hedge, beckons with a row of fountains framed in low boxwood and festooned first by yellow tulips and then feathery astilbe. A bench is posed for contemplation on a gravel path surrounding the feature. The other side of the house connects the front and rear yards via a flagstone walk trimmed with manicured shrubbery and grass; another bench heralds the transition to the backyard.

Complete with a built-in grill and shaded by pleached catalpa trees, a flagstone terrace in back is spacious enough for dining and lounging. In 2021, McHale and James Doyle Design Associates collaborated on a swimming pool, installed beyond the terrace (shown on previous pages). The pool is accessed via rough-hewn granite steppers; manicured lawn frames the pool’s narrow, thermal-finish Pennsylvania flagstone coping. Says Kelly, “Green is the clients’ favorite color and the landscape’s many shades create a sense of relaxation and peace.”

Award: Distinction, Residential Maintenance (McHale). Landscape Design: James Doyle Design Associates, Greenwich, Connecticut. Landscape Installation & Maintenance: Phil Kelly, McHale Landscape Design, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Photography: Erin Bogan. 

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